Table of Contents


Mt. Everest, Part I: The Early Years

It is the icon of all mountains, but years of exploitation have impugned the honor of Everest. Ed Webster, with Katie Ives, writes an honest mountain of it, while Wade Davis, Mike Westmacott, Wang Fuzhou and Tom Hornbein weigh in on the early innocence of the Goddess Mother of Earth.

sharp end


For alpinists, there's only one drink: scotch.

Editor's Note

The new editor of Alpinist sounds off.


The etymology of Bushido.

On Belay

Blue ribbons of ice from Cody, Wyoming, and devotion on Arizona's Vermillion Cliffs.

Tool Users

The genesis of Tom Hornbein's oxygen mask.





Reflections on love and loss, arrogance and reenactments.

climbing life

The Climbing Life

Observations from the field.


Escape Route

When Kurt Albert and Bernd Arnold bolted one of the proudest lines in Patagonia, purists were outraged. A young alpinist puzzles out the sometimes-paradoxical values of alpine free climbing.


How do you climb a blank wall without "murdering the impossible"? The author adopts a style that lets him have his pristine adventure and climb it, ground up, too. The result: the Bachar-Yerian, a mental testpiece that still defines boldness and traditional climbing twenty-eight years later.

Full Value

A late start, a paucity of gear, and a looming storm combine to menace our heroes. Within hours on a new route up Colorado's Hallett Peak, an all-too-eager apprentice becomes a seasoned alpinist.

Off Belay

One man's failed internship is another's liberation.


Will future high-altitude climbers count by numbers or by fair means? In August 2008, eleven climbers died on the world's second-highest peak. A re-examination, seven months later, of what the chaos of memory reveals.

features content

After the Fall

No one likes to think about it, but when things are about to go terminally wrong, most climbers hope to be rescued. In the Tetons, the Jenny Lake Climbing Rangers get the call.

The Giri-Giri Boys

In spring 2008, five Japanese alpinists upturned the concept of enchainments in the Alaska Range forever. Two of them didn't come back. How the Giri-Giri Boys found their style, and lost their friends.

An Infinite Lightness of Being

The fairytale towers of Elbsandstein near Dresden, Germany, have enchanted (and petrified) climbers for over a century. An exploration of the unusual atmosphere and ethics that make this Saxon wonderland unique.

Postcards from Sardinia

To a young Italian steeped in the tradition and routes of the Alps, the crags of southern Italy were an anathema. Then a postcard arrived, and Sardinia's adventure climbing slowly took form.

local heroes

Local Hero

Kelly Cordes is more than familiar with "disaster style" and margaritas. But his unassuming hero, Scott DeCapio, taught him all he knows about simple happiness. With photographs by Dan Gambino.