Over the last decade behind his lens, Jon Griffith has focused on mountain sports photography: alpine, rock and ice climbing, backcountry skiing, BASE jumping, paragliding and speed riding. But beyond the dusky alpenglow and crisp ridgelines, the bulk of Griffith's oeuvre is extraordinary in another important and more unusual way: it's real.
Unusual conditions in the Central Alaska Range one season leaves the classic Ham and Eggs (V 5.8 AI4) slathered in snice and yielding only to a collective, siege-style effort by the growing community of climbers at its base.
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.
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.
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.
"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...."
"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...."
"[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.