Each year, the Everest situation comes under greater scrutiny, with new stories of crowds and deaths and with new allegations of climbers lacking compassion for each other.... Each person's choice of style is his or her own, a decision that has to do with highly personal variables. Regardless of how we feel about the use of various aids, the people who stand atop these peaks still take each step themselves.
We were on the North Face of the Eiger. Clint Eastwood was dangling free over an ugly overhang with his rope attached to the end of a ladder that was rigged like a diving board. It protruded about 20 feet over the edge of a rock ledge....
When we meet people for the first time, we ask their name, and we ask them their job. And although I know climbers who've adopted unorthodox monikers such as Trout Man, Chongo, Coach or Alf, they have no trouble answering their names. The job category, that one's often tougher. If you're like me, you put on a sheepish grin and give a halfway-there explanation, and struggle until failure to explain what you're doing with yourself and why.
Does the sound of crunching leaves underfoot and a biting frost on your morning run have you itchin' to break out the pointy hardware and sniff out some vertical ice? Nostalgic for your first time swinging a tool? Eager to enjoy some meditation time on your front points? Tell us about it.
As a beginning climber, I would read Internet forums and climbing blogs for hours. I justified these pupil-glazing sessions as "research" into a world I knew nothing about....In the interest of helping others avoid such hours fraught with peril, I'm going to attempt to answer nearly every Internet climbing conundrum in the span of a single Q and A session.