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Sharp End

IN A BRICK HOUSE in the tree-lined village of Hildenborough, England, a Tibetan woman listened to her British husband translate books and newspapers, so she could hear how foreign writers depicted her homeland. It was the early twentieth century, in the midst of the first British attempts on Everest.

A Climber’s Guide to Yosemite Valley

If you’re lucky, you own a copy of the 1964 A Climber’s Guide to Yosemite Valley–Steve Roper’s seminal “Red Guide.” Shey Kiester unearths Valley lore to reveal the genesis of Roper’s creation, and how it changed climbing in Yosemite and throughout America.


FOR A LONG time, I used to work on Alpinist from twilight until dawn. In the small hours of the night, time appeared to stretch into an illusion of eternity. The boundaries seemed to grow thinner between the stories and my mind, until the snows of distant summits seeped through my cold apartment walls.

The Elusive, Essential Feeling

The day is done. In the darkness, bruised and battered hands react unconsciously and follow the familiar Braille trail of the desert pinstripes scratched in the fender, door and quarter panel of my car. It’s been a long while since I’ve felt boxes of slide film jostling around my cooler. At first, the empty space was a shock.

Editor’s Note

SO BEGAN THE LETTER. Marc Ewing wanted to start a magazine–the magazine, actually, that I had always worried somebody else would start. The timing was good: my seven years with the American Alpine Journal had just come to an end. Shortly after receiving the letter, I called Marc on the phone.

26 Tool Users: The Jensen Pack

Described by the famous mountaineering writer David Roberts as a man “for whom no expedition was long enough,” Don Jensen spent years creating the perfect homemade gear for his epic excursions. Brad Rassler tells the story of the rare “Jensen Pack,” a relic of its creator’s intense climbing and quiet ingenuity.

15 Letters

A graduate student unpacks more of the myths of mountain tourism. A librarian and a sailor share stories of meeting and missing the late, elusive Charlie Porter. And a reader adds a footnote to a Mountain Profile.