Weekly Feature Archives

Melting Giants: La Meije, Massif des Ecrins, France

Posted January 3, 2020

For 141 years since its first ascent, mountaineers from around the world traveled to climb la Meije in the Massif des Ecrins of France. Meanwhile, the permafrost that held its stones together was melting. On August 7, 2018, rockfall destroyed much of the normal route. In this On Belay story from Alpinist 68, two locally based guides—Benjamin Ribeyre and Erin Smart—recount a search for a new way up the peak amid the uncertainties of the planet's future.

Tool User: Kendal Mint Cake

Posted December 23, 2019

In this Tool Users story that first appeared in Alpinist 68—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—John Hessler explores the history of an energy bar invented in 1869: the famously (or infamously) sweet Kendal Mint Cake.

Blood That Dreams of Stone: Antonia Pozzi, Climbing Poet

Posted December 16, 2019

During the early twentieth century, the talented young poet Antonia Pozzi sought freedom from her family and her society amid the rock spires of the Dolomites and other Italian peaks. In this feature story from Alpinist 68, David Smart provides an introduction to her career, along with translations of three of her climbing poems, with the help of Brian McKenzie and illustrations by Rhiannon Klee.

Local Hero: Katie Sauter

Posted December 10, 2019

Whether they've collected summits, books or memories, many climbers long to preserve records of the past. In this Local Hero story from Alpinist 68—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—Paula Wright presents the person responsible for cataloguing and managing one of the most extensive of these collections: Katie Sauter, director of the Henry S. Hall Jr. American Alpine Club Library.

The Less You Talk

Posted December 3, 2019

In this Climbing Life story from Alpinist 68, our digital editor Derek Franz articulates the value of staying quiet while climbing with his wife. "I've learned that my enthusiasm can be a detriment," he writes. "My impulse, ever since I was a kid, has been to try to offer guidance.... I want to encourage her; I want her to realize the ability she has. My words usually come out wrong."

The Thing with Feathers: On mountains, climate science and hope

Posted November 27, 2019

In this story that was commissioned as part of the Covering Climate Now campaign, Michelle Dowd reports on her time spent observing scientists at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Colorado last summer and considers today's climate crisis through the lens of her deeply religious upbringing.

Pandora's Box: The Brief, Brilliant Life of Kei Taniguchi

Posted November 26, 2019

In 2009 Japanese alpinist Kei Taniguchi became the first woman to receive a Piolet d'Or for her first ascent of the Southeast Face of Kamet (7756m), with Kazuya Hiraide. During the final years of her life, Taniguchi continued to explore challenging new routes, while hinting at a mysterious personal quest. Piecing together diary entries and interviewing family and friends, her biographer Akihiro Oishi tries to see inside what Taniguchi called "the Pandora's box."

Robert Paragot (1927-2019): An Old Man's Lesson

Posted November 7, 2019

Robert Paragot, a highly influential alpinist and Fontainebleau boulderer, passed away at his home near Paris on October 24 at age 92. French climbing journalist Claude Gardien reports that Paragot continued to be involved in the climbing community up until his death: "He was a great climber and a very nice man." Chris Schulte, an American climber who has referred to Fontainebleu as a "second home," summarized Paragot's career: "Exceptionally well rounded, Paragot achieved many difficult and historic ascents in the Great Ranges of the earth, from the north faces of the Drus and the Grand Capucin in the Alps, to first ascents on Aconcagua and Huarascan in South America, as well as Mustagh Tower, Jannu, and Makalu in the Himalaya." In honor of his life, we're sharing a story from Alpinist 12 (2005) in which Paragot recounts the very beginning of his climbing career.

Denali, A Universe

Posted October 23, 2019

In 1913 Walter Harper, an Irish-Athabascan climber, became the first person to stand on the summit of Denali, soon joined by teammates Harry Karstens, Robert Tatum and Archdeacon Hudson Stuck. In this Wired story from Alpinist 67, which is now available on newsstands and in our online store, Harper's grandniece, Jan Harper-Haines, shares a few family histories of his short, but remarkable life.

The Unclimbed

Posted October 18, 2019

In this story from The Climbing Life section of Alpinist 67, which is now available on newsstands and in our online store, Ana Beatriz Cholo faces a difficult choice: Following an unexpected cancer diagnosis, she must decide if she is willing to forgo her long-dreamed-of expedition to Denali to reunite with her estranged father. She first wrote about her ambitions to climb Denali in a story for Alpinist 59 (2017) titled "The Accidental Mountaineer."