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  • A Drone in the Desert

    A Drone in the Desert

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 85—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—Derek Franz encounters a drone on top of a desert tower and contemplates the changes brought on by the technological age, and what the future might hold for climbing in America.


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  • Onward & Upward: A century of women climbing in the Tetons

    Onward & Upward: A century of women climbing in the Tetons

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    In late 2022, I learned that The Teton Climbers’ Coalition would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first female ascent of the Grand Teton the next year, and they were looking for suggestions on how to engage the community. This sparked the nugget of an idea in my storyteller’s brain—I could help mark this…


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  • 1981: Katahdin in Winter

    1981: Katahdin in Winter

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    As we moved higher, the fog thickened. Nancy Rich, Helen and I began putting in wands on the off chance we’d be descending this route. As the trail gained the summit plateau, called the Tableland, flat and featureless, the grade eased off and the route was marked by cairns.


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  • 1973: The Cilley-Barber Route

    1973: The Cilley-Barber Route

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    Whiteout spindrift avalanches, the cold temperature and bulletproof ice all made the climbing slow and progress doubtful as I skirted around the right side of some horizontal ice roofs. I prayed Dave wouldn’t fall following this pitch: my gear was in questionable, shattered ice, and I was belaying above the crux from my seventy-centimeter wooden-shafted…


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  • Sharp End: Shiny Things

    Sharp End: Shiny Things

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 84—which is now available on newsstands and in our online store—Derek Franz weighs the pros and cons of the Piolets d’Or. “The propriety of Piolets’ “Golden Ice Axe” awards in the realm of alpinism has been debated ever since the first ceremony in 1992,” he writes. “If the…


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  • Tool User: Sticky-Rubber Kneepads

    Tool User: Sticky-Rubber Kneepads

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    In this Tool User story from Alpinist 83—which is available in our online store—Matt Samet traces the development of sticky-rubber kneepads.


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  • Climbing in Wilderness

    Climbing in Wilderness

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 83–which is now available on newsstands and in our online store–Derek Franz examines the legal landscape and uncertain future for bolts and other fixed anchors that have been used for climbing in designated wilderness areas for nearly sixty years. Legislation such as Protect America’s Rock Climbing Act and America’s Outdoor Recreation Act is necessary, he argues, because “climbing’s place within the law is not, shall we say, fixed.”


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  • Power on the Peaks

    Power on the Peaks

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    In this Climbing Life story from Alpinist 81–which is available in our online store–Shehla Anjum shares stories from some of the Pakistani women finding their power amid the country’s high peaks.


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  • Contemplating the Next Impossible

    Contemplating the Next Impossible

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 82–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Derek Franz considers some of the hardest objectives for today’s alpinists. He writes: “When it comes to the physical limits of the human body, we are constantly wondering what is possible: What is the fastest a human can run, the highest someone can jump?… There will always be those who wonder: What is the limit of human ability on high peaks and technical faces?”


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  • What’s Past is Prologue: Tom Hornbein’s Winding Road to Chomolungma

    What’s Past is Prologue: Tom Hornbein’s Winding Road to Chomolungma

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    To honor the life of Tom Hornbein, who died on May 6, 2023, at his home in Estes Park, Colorado, at age 92, we are sharing this feature story from Alpinist 73 (2021) by mountaineering historian Maurice Isserman. Hornbein was one of America’s greatest climbers, best known for completing the first ascent of Mt. Everest’s West Ridge with Willi Unsoeld in 1963. He also earned distinction in his long career as an anesthesiologist and advanced research on the effects of altitude on the human body. The American Alpine Club awarded him the AAC President’s Gold Medal twice and bestowed him…


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  • Between safety and boldness

    Between safety and boldness

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 81–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Derek Franz seeks a balance between safety and boldness. He writes: “Climbing…is full of duality, encompassing a range of contradictory values…. There is a continual tightrope walk between the opposing values of safety and boldness, and the search for optimal balance between the two has always shaped the evolution of our pastime. Questions that seem to have been settled at various times in the past reemerge. There is now a fast-growing population of climbers, with increasing numbers of them going into the mountains strong…


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  • What We Search For

    What We Search For

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    As he struggles to cope with the death of a friend, Jason Nark becomes absorbed in the story of the search for Matthew Greene, a climber who disappeared in the Sierra Nevada in 2013.


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  • A Climbing Life

    A Climbing Life

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 80–which is now available on newsstands and in our online store–Derek Franz shares his journey from Alpinist reader to editor-in-chief.


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  • Bea and Me

    Bea and Me

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    In this story from Alpinist 79 (Autumn 2022), a 1952 photo of a woman who forged pitons inspires Lauren Delaunay Miller to embark on a journey to learn more about Bea Vogel, an early Yosemite climber and ardent activist, for whom the right to choose was paramount–on the rock and in the rest of life. Delaunay Miller’s book “Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing” recently received the Banff Mountain Book Award Climbing Literature Award.


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  • The World Between the Pages

    The World Between the Pages

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 79–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Alpinist’s departing editor-in-chief Katie Ives ponders the fates of climbing publications and says farewell after ten years at the helm of the magazine. She writes: “I am leaving for other paths. The magazine will go on, with your help. And I hope that I will continue to meet you, in the mountains and in our words….”


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  • Mountains of Grief

    Mountains of Grief

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    “When the mountain community…grapples with the accidental death of one of its members,” Anna Callaghan writes, “only one thing is certain: it’s going to happen again.” Through interviews with several climbers who’ve lost loved ones to the mountains, Callaghan explores the ways in which people across the climbing community are banding together to address grief and support the bereaved.


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  • Fifty Years in Yosemite: The soft-spoken legacy of Werner Braun, “Mr. Astroman”

    Fifty Years in Yosemite: The soft-spoken legacy of Werner Braun, “Mr. Astroman”

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    Earl Bates traces stories from the 50-year career of Werner Braun, one of Yosemite’s most reticent Stonemasters. Braun retired from his work in the Valley last year and moved to St. George, Utah, with his wife Merry. Braun was among the best free soloists of his generation and ultimately proved himself to be a significant asset to the Park Service and Yosemite Search and Rescue, but you won’t hear him say so. In his typical fashion, Braun continues to shy away from recognition, and that is why some of Yosemite’s best stories may never be told.


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  • Tool Users: Sun Protection

    Tool Users: Sun Protection

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    In this Tool Users story from Alpinist 78–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Sarah Pickman traces the early development of sun protection. As Western scientists debated the cause of sunburn in the nineteenth century, she explains, some researchers “turned to a community with plenty of experience getting burned: alpinists.”


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  • Melt Outs

    Melt Outs

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    In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 78–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Katie Ives explores some of the many metaphors of late-season ice. She writes: “Any ice route is a land that appears and disappears, never taking an identical shape twice, leaving ghostly outlines in climbers’ memories of past forms–and posing the question of which ascent might be the last.”


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  • Rematriating Our Lives: Indigeneity and What it Means to Climb

    Rematriating Our Lives: Indigeneity and What it Means to Climb

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    In this Wired story from Alpinist 77–which is now available on newsstands and in our online store–Micheli Oliver contemplates some of many metaphors of ascent for herself and other Indigenous women.


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