From November 16-22, Lizzy Scully shared her photos and video on our social media pages as part of the Alpinist Community project. Scully has been climbing for over 20 years, and her expeditions have taken her to Canada, Greenland, India and Pakistan. Her story, “Birth, Sickness, Old Age, Death,” published in The Climbing Life section of Alpinist 46, is included in the Notable List of Best American Sports Writing, 2015 (ed. Glenn Stout and Wright Thompson).
Scully calls this collection “The Middle Way.”
Climbing captured me soon after I turned 21. Two years later I climbed my first El Cap route, The Shield (5.8 A3, 2,900′, Bocarde-Porter, 1972).
Though I had never climbed higher than 4200 meters, I decided to go to the Karakoram to climb big walls. Cecilia Buil, Nan Darkis and I spent six days completing the third ascent of Inshallah (5.12 A0, 1310m, Davis-Harvey-Shaw, 1999) on Shipton Spire (5885m), in Pakistani Karakoram. This photo appeared in Alpinist Issue 2.
Climbing Inshallah (5.12 A0, 1310m, Davis-Harvey-Shaw, 1999) on Shipton Spire (5885m), in Pakistani Karakoram, was the most difficult and scary experience of my life. The Karakoram is wildly ever-changing, with shifting glaciers, constant rock, snow and ice fall, and towering granite walls everywhere.
The year after I climbed Shipton Spire, Heidi Wirtz and I completed the first free ascent of the South Howser Minaret (5885m) in Bugaboo Provincial Park, B.C., via the 17-pitch Bad Hair Day (5.12-, 550m). This photo is of Heidi hiking into the mist on the approach.
Some expeditions succeed, some fail miserably. For various reasons, most of them have to do with inexperience and a predominance of bad weather. Heidi and I didn’t even touch rock while in Miyar Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. Mt. Mahindra (5845m) is in the distance.
After a six-year hiatus, I got the bug to go on another expedition. In 2013, Quinn Brett, Prairie Kearney, John Dickey and I traveled to the Torssukatak Fjord, South Greenland, and did two stellar first ascents. This photo was taken of the summit of the Breakfast Spire.
In 2006, Heidi and I attempted to climb the Ogre’s Thumb on the Biafo Glacier, Pakistan. We chose a line rife with loose rock, which prevented our ascent of the wall. In this video clip Heidi and I comment on the poor rock we found.