Weekly Feature Archives

The City and the Blade Chapter 2

Posted August 11, 2015

IN THE YEARS AFTER MUGS' DEATH, I climbed in the style he'd imprinted on me, venturing into places where nature was still in power, where everything became simple because no falling was allowed. A new partner, Alex Lowe, joined me on expeditions to Central Asia and Antarctica. In my memory, now, it's hard to fix a single image of him, for he was always moving, drinking coffee, bouncing on his toes. Like all his friends, I found myself caught up in that endless stream of energy, bewildered by what I could achieve while he cheered me on.

The City and the Blade Chapter 1

Posted August 10, 2015

Mugs had tried the Shark's Fin in 1986 and 1988 with various partners. He was turned back by an avalanche, a shoulder injury and heavy snow. When speaking of the peak, his voice dropped to a reverential whisper. On the back wall of his van, he tacked a tattered cover of Mountain with a photo of the Shark's Fin framed perfectly against a blue sky. He covered the image with a weatherworn prayer flag, only sharing it with his closest friends.

Fun Times at the 22nd Annual Lander International Climbers' Festival

Posted August 4, 2015

The Lander International Climbers' Festival, which celebrated its twenty-second anniversary from July 8 to July 12, is the modern-day equivalent of the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous—but for climbers. Here, at City Park, by a river still lined with cottonwoods, the itinerant climbers pitched a city of colorful tents, while their iron horses lined the narrow street beside the river.

There and Back Again: Chapter Two

Posted July 16, 2015

After being kidnapped in Kyrgyzstan I suffered from nightmares and loads of mistrust in the world. I went to see a therapist a few times to try and rid my sleep of nightmares, but my therapy and focus on mental healing stopped there. I felt that therapy was a sign of weakness, and that I should be tougher than that.

Meru: Documentary Reveals Honor and Obsession among Himalaya Big Wall Climbers

Posted July 14, 2015

It's over and they know it. Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk are 7,000 miles from home, 20,000 feet above sea level and a mere 300 feet below the summit of Meru Central (6310m), the middle summit of Meru Peak, in India.

There and Back Again: Chapter One

Posted July 13, 2015

The past two years I've either been pregnant or a new mom to our 14-month-old boy, Theo. Reflecting on There and Back Again reminds me of a time where climbing and everything surrounding it was my sole focus in life.

Cliffs Ahoy: Vertical Sailing and Sea Ditties in the Arctic Circle

Posted July 10, 2015

Last summer a group of climbers navigated the chill waters of the North Atlantic to access remote big wall routes in the Uumannaq area of Greenland, Gibbs Fjord, Nanavut and Sam Ford Fjord, Baffin Island. During this trip they authored ten new long routes in alpine style. This wasn't their maiden voyage, but a reprise of a 2010 adventure—a style of climbing the team dubbed "vertical sailing."

Timed Just Right

Posted July 9, 2015

A gentle breeze drifts over my bright-yellow bivi bag, tickling evergreen bows just overhead. We doze beneath magnificent trees, poised at the foot of North Maroon Peak thousands of feet above Aspen, Colorado. A pyramid of choss just beginning to shed its winter blanket of white looms over us and just now seems in condition for an alpine ascent.

Alpinist Sponsors Upcoming Squamish Climbing Festival: Arc'teryx Climbing Academy

Posted July 2, 2015

Squamish, B.C. A salty breeze washes inland from Howe Sound, tangling the air at the busy Port of Squamish. Snowcapped mountains rise beyond the docks, hemming in the broad valley with dark misty forests.

Photo Essay: Bad to the Bone

Posted July 2, 2015

This past April, Jonathan Griffith and Will Sim endured avalanches, rotten rock and tent-flattening winds to author a new route on the unclimbed northwest face on Mt. Deborah (12,339') in the Alaska Range. Sim calls their route, Bad to the Bone, "The most spooky and unnerving thing I have ever been on." The pair declined to grade its difficulty, and does not recommend a second ascent.