Weekly Feature Archives

The Cobra: Memories of its First Ascent

Posted August 8, 2014

High-desert climbing pioneer Jimmie Dunn recounts the quirky Cobra's first ascent on a sizzling April day in 1991 when "even the ants [were] lying low" in Utah's Fisher Towers. He bids farewell to the now-collapsed formation that was enjoyed by so many fellow desert rats over the years.

Experts Ask: Are We Loving Our Mountains to Death?

Posted August 7, 2014

A quorum of mountain experts gathered in Golden, Colorado, to sift through the mounting social, economic and environmental challenges that have grown with the increasing populations of outdoor recreators across the world. Brad Rassler reports back.

Fun with Routelines: Results from a Ridiculous Facebook Contest

Posted August 6, 2014

We drew routelines on the Paramount Pictures logo and asked our Facebook fans to tell stories of the routes' fictional first ascents. Here are some of our favorite responses.

The Ultimate Linkup in Washington's Stuart Range

Posted August 1, 2014

After climbing more than 4,000 vertical feet of technical terrain up to 5.12 and hiking 20 miles in less than 24 hours, Blake Herrington and Jens Holsten recount their Ultimate Linkup in Washington's Stuart Range.

In Memory of Charlie Porter (1951-2014)

Posted July 25, 2014

"All his life, [Charlie Porter had] defied the odds on rock walls and oceans, from Yosemite to Antarctica. It seems improbable to imagine him knocking on the door of a hospital on the grid-square streets of Punta Arenas. Ashes in an urn, energy into dust...."

The Gloaming: Charlie Porter in Tierra del Fuego

Posted July 25, 2014

"If you started climbing in the early 1970s, you couldn't help being aware of the Porter phenomenon, the meteor that flashed so briefly across the climbing firmament only to vanish. I knew about the famous El Cap big-wall climbs with their evocative hippy names, and the legendary Mt. Asgard solo...But I met Charlie much later, completely out of context...."

Uncharted Space

Posted July 24, 2014

"[A] frigid flow ran down our sleeves, exiting at elbows or coursing down over bollocks and quads into boots.... In the dim light, I stood in double boots on two sloping footholds, and I hollered down that I needed the bolt kit. 'What?' Charlie [Porter] answered. I'd woken him up. 'No fuckin' bolts! Not now, not ever!'" Russel McLean spends 10 days on the Kichatnas' Middle Triple Peak in Part 4 of the Charlie Porter series.

The Man with the Van

Posted July 23, 2014

With a number of hard El Capitan wall climbs under his belt, Charlie Porter drives to the Canadian Rockies in his dilapidated "California van" to climb with Bugs McKeith and the Burgess twins. In this installment of our Charlie Porter series, Alan Burgess tells of their first ascent of the now-classic Polar Circus, Cirrus Mountain, and attempt on Grand Central Couloir, Mt. Kitchener.


Posted July 22, 2014

Sibylle Hechtel remembers Charlie Porter as the "burly, and utterly huggable" boyfriend of Bev Johnson, with whom Hechtel made the first all-female ascent of El Capitan. Her story continues our series on Porter's life, as told by his friends and climbing partners.

Waiting for Dawn

Posted July 21, 2014

In Part 1 of this series on Charlie Porter, told by some of climbing partners and friends through the decades, Gary Bocarde recalls their days together in Yosemite, where Porter pushed the upper limits of hard aid in the early 1970s and climbed not for ego but for joy.