Weekly Feature Archives

Desperate Country: Seven Days on the Fence

Posted July 29, 2013

Over seven days, Jens Holsten and Chad Kellogg made their way across the toothy ridgeline of the Northern and Southern Pickets in the Cascade Mountains. The ten-mile linkup would be one of the longest routes in the Lower 48—had they completed it.

2013 Everest Report: A Curse, a Fight and the Aftermath

Posted July 11, 2013

Modern Sherpa climbers have achieved some respect within the commercial guiding community—their status the result of evolving power structures through decades of Himalayan mountaineering. But as we look into the background of the April 27, 2013 outburst in Camp II on the south side of Everest, one discrepancy becomes apparent: the credit and wages Sherpas receive for their work, as compared to that of their Western colleagues, has not caught up to the ongoing risks Sherpas face or to their growing responsibilities.

Free Climbing Liberty Cap: A Q&A with Cedar Wright

Posted June 7, 2013

The Golden Age of climbing in Yosemite may have come and gone, but last week, Lucho Rivera and Cedar Wright proved there are still puzzles waiting to be unlocked by creative minds. I caught up with Wright between sips of coffee to hear more about what he calls "one of the best free climbs in Yosemite Valley."

Death on Yosemite's Muir Wall

Posted June 5, 2013

Already through the three cruxes of the climb and just 600 feet from the top of El Capitan, Mason Robison did what we've all done before: pulled on a loose block. The rock fell, cutting Robison's lead rope and sending him to his death. Chris Van Leuven eulogizes the 38-year-old stone mason, analyzes the accident and teaches us something about Yosemite Valley geology.

Mesca-Dawn: A Remembrance of Bill Denz

Posted May 9, 2013

In a collaborative effort to profile the late Bill Denz for our spring issue, Peter Haan and Paul Maxim enlisted David "Zappa" Austin to record his memories of one hard-fought link-up of Mescalito and the Dawn Wall of El Capitan in 1978. A snippet of Austin's story helps shape Denz's tough and tenacious character in "Boldness, Genius Magic: The Life of Bill Denz," Alpinist 42. Herein, Austin tells the rest of the unpublished story.

Obituary: Layton Kor (1938-2013)

Posted April 26, 2013

The name says it all. Everyone who is a climber has heard his name. Every climber has seen his name plastered all over the guidebooks and on route names like Kor's Flake, Kor's Door, Kor's Korner and the Kor-Ingalls Route. Layton Kor was ubiquitous in the 1960s. The man was everywhere, stirring up an impatient storm on the rocks wherever he landed.

In Gold Blood

Posted April 8, 2013

One year ago I sat idly and watched as my friends enjoyed a beautiful, warm winter day of cragging at the New River Gorge in West Virginia.... I reminisced of moments from weeks prior: the sound of our machete as it cut through thick vines; the unmistakable metallic squawk of the Bearded Bellbird; waterfalls; flowers; heaven on earth; black flies; dazzling views; big walls; dirt in my eyes; ant bites; the sound of a breaking bone...

50 Years on Everest

Posted February 14, 2013

Each year, the Everest situation comes under greater scrutiny, with new stories of crowds and deaths and with new allegations of climbers lacking compassion for each other.... Each person's choice of style is his or her own, a decision that has to do with highly personal variables. Regardless of how we feel about the use of various aids, the people who stand atop these peaks still take each step themselves.

Future First Ascents: The Faces of the Mugs Stump Award

Posted January 28, 2013

We already introduced their objectives. Now meet the nine teams chasing those summits with all of Mug Stump's boldness and commitment to light and clean alpinism.

Alpinist 41: The Cover (Back)story

Posted January 28, 2013

We were on the North Face of the Eiger. Clint Eastwood was dangling free over an ugly overhang with his rope attached to the end of a ladder that was rigged like a diving board. It protruded about 20 feet over the edge of a rock ledge....