In the early 1970s, a college professor and a band of scruffy youths stumbled upon one of the largest collections of icefalls in North America. But the dense trees, deep snowdrifts and complex landscape of Montana's Hyalite Canyon would reveal its secrets slowly—and only to those willing to wander. Joe Josephson narrates forty-one years of ongoing quests, while Pat Callis, Doug McCarty, Jennifer Lowe-Anker, Jack Tackle and Whit Magro recount the joys of getting lost in the woods.
Climbing artist John Svenson has devoted nearly half a century to exploring mixed media and wild landscapes, from watercolor to molten glass, and from stormy ridges to spidery rainforests. His conclusions? Everyone should draw, and an adventurous life can represent our most aesthetic creation. Herein, some visual results.
For British alpinist Ian Parnell, the white cliffs of Dover, England, were a familiar emblem of home and cultural identity. But as he began to delve into the first-ascent history of these crumbling headlands, he grew less and less sure of what those ideas meant. Faced with the contrasting legacy of a late Victorian occultist and a modern taxman—and the hazards of both their routes—he struggled for balance between the darker side of climbing and the light.
Growing up in a tenement on the outskirts of Madrid, Javier Selva took refuge in old books about faraway lands. After seeing historic photos and paintings of Alaska in a private library, he spent the next decades of his life pursuing a mountain that seemed at once the symbol of a mythic past and the gateway to his own transcendence.
From the solo first ascent of the southwest pillar of the Petit Dru (3733m) to the first ascent of Gasherbrum IV (7925m), Walter Bonatti (1930-2011) transformed every realm of alpine climbing. He will remain one of our community's most enduring heroes.
Chris Van Leuven realizes that climbing gives us a home in the most precarious places. Matt Samet elucidates the true meaning of nonsensical route names.
Our associate editor discovers a nostalgia for hemp ropes.
Michael Ybarra sketches the art of a climber. Sam Piper confronts the outcomes. Derek Franz finds a doorway to the other side.
The Last Imaginary Maps
In January 2010, a New Hampshire guide established one of the East Coast's most difficult boltless mixed lines—wearing homemade fruitboots. It was only one of many new routes Bayard Russell has climbed in his backyard for years.
Black Hills climber Pete deLannoy pays tribute to Paul Muehl, a mentor whose life lessons included much more than just how to fall on duct-taped hooks.