During a five-week climbing bonanza this summer, Oxford University Mountaineering Club members Tom Codrington, Jacob Cook, Ian Faulkner and Peter Hill sailed among the granite cliffs of Greenland, establishing six new big-wall routes, including two up the thrice-attempted Horn of Upernivik Island (1700m). Along the way, Seal hunters shot bullets over their heads, one rogue husky ate vital climbing equipment, and they made memories they would eradicate from their minds if they could.
Though he had climbed El Capitan in a day—three times—twenty-two-year-old Cheyne Lempe spent the days leading up to his solo attempt on the Salathe Wall (VI 5.9 A2, 2,900') trying not to puke out of the apprehension. "Tomorrow I'm going to try to climb the Salathe Wall on El Cap, in one day, by myself... Man, all those words in the same sentence just sounds... sounds like it's going to be a lot of suffering...."
Two climbers recently rappelled the upper reaches of El Capitan to conduct a traditional "Nose Wipe." They hauled out garbage by the bag-full, but an estimated 500 pounds of debris remains on Yosemite's best-known route.
"Sean has bad case of diarrhea, Nico has bit of a sunstroke and is vomiting, Stephane has bad headache and Evrard has sore back. So nothing unusual to report really," the four-man team wrote from Kyzyl Asker (5842m) on the Chinese-Kyrgyzstani border. And they hadn't even started climbing.
When I was a new teenage climber, I had to talk my parents gently through the mechanics of leading, following and rappelling, but it was their worries that taught me to think beyond the accepted norms of those around me. I came home gushing: my friends were putting up a first ascent from the ground up. Yet my mother didn't adopt the same enthusiasm....
Early this season, climbers Shawn Gregory, Chris Guyer and the intrepid Aaron Mulkey sniffed around cowboy country for climbable ice smears. Along the way, an ice pillar gives these desperadoes more than they bargained for.
Canadian Jon Walsh and American Josh Wharton completed the second ascent of the North Pillar (5.10d A2, 1500m) of Twins Tower on North Twin, a climb known for its horrible rock and technical nature on a face once described as "...dark, sheer and gloomy...like a bad dream."
In the aftermath of the Nanga Parbat attack, Swedish alpinist and conflict dynamics analyst David Falt looks at some of the potential risks and possibilities for the future of Karakoram mountaineering and peace in northern Pakistan.
The late 1950s and early 1960s marked the arrival of Highway 99 in that small logging town, and a shift in climbers' interest from peaks with pointy summits to rock faces with technical challenges. In this Web feature, Ed Cooper and Dick Culbert reflect on those early days leading up to the first ascent of the Grand Wall in 1961.
"We have a rule, climbing in the mountains-you just don't fall," says veteran alpinist Mark Richey, "...but you do, sometimes." Before leaving for the Eastern Karakoram to attempt Saser Kangri II, then the world's second-highest unreached summit, Freddie Wilkinson and Mark Richey get a first-hand reminder of how abruptly the climb could go wrong.