In this On Belay story from Alpinist 76–which is now on newsstands and available in our online store–our digital editor Derek Franz travels to Yosemite to climb through layers of historical and personal past, and witnesses some history in the making.
Mountain Standards Gear Review: Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz has been using the Black Diamond Crack Gloves to jam cracks across the west for the past several months. He writes: “I’ve used these gloves in Yosemite, Black Canyon and Utah desert, and also crammed them into some sharp, crumbly choss cracks near my home on Colorado’s Western Slope, and they’re holding up well, much better than I predicted based on how thin they felt when I first tried them on…. I found these puppies to perform well in thin hand cracks as well as for offwidth teacup fist jams.” Five stars.
Interview with David Smart, author of the Mountain Profile for Alpinist 76 and winner of 2021 Boardman-Tasker Award
David Smart’s book, Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites, received the Boardman-Tasker Award for Mountain Literature in November. The biography was published in 2020 and provided some of the inspiration for Smart’s Mountain Profile on the Cima Grande in the Dolomites that was recently published in Alpinist 76. In this feature, an interview with Smart explores topics related to Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites, the Cima Grande profile and Smart’s writing and climbing career.
Three Ukrainian climbers–Nikita Balabanov, Mikhail Fomin and Viacheslav Polezhaiko–have just completed the first ascent of the fabled Southeast Ridge of Annapurna III (7555m). Until now, no one had surpassed the high point of 6500 meters that was first reached by British climbers Steve Bell, Nick Colton and Tim Leach in 1981. Balabanov, Fomin and Viacheslav had only 12 days of food and took 18 days for the ascent and descent. After diverting from their original descent plan, they were eventually picked up by helicopter at 5000m.
A story from Alpinist 74 (Summer 2021)–“Letters to a Young Climber,” by Doug Robinson–was recently selected as the winner of Best Mountaineering Article at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which is happening this week. The recognition comes with $2,000 and is eligible to receive a $4,000 Grand Prize that will be selected from a pool that includes seven other category winners on November 5. A book by Alpinist contributor Chris Kalman, “Dammed If You Don’t,” won the Mountain Fiction and Poetry category. A grand-prize winner among the eight categories will be selected on November 5. Meanwhile, the film “Dream Mountain,” of which Alpinist is a sponsor, was selected for the for the 2021/22 Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
The American Alpine Club (AAC) is currently accepting applications for six grants: the TINCUP Partner in Adventure Grant, the Cutting Edge Grant, the Jones Backcountry Adventure Grant, the McNeill-Nott Award, the Mountaineering Fellowship Fund Grant, and the Rocky Talkie Search and Rescue Award. Deadlines to apply vary depending on the grant, ranging from November 8, 2021, to January 31, 2022.
President Biden signs proclamations to restore Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Seamounts Marine national monuments
President Joe Biden signed an executive order today restoring Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments after former President Donald Trump rescinded the original designations in 2017. Trump’s rescissions had reduced Bears Ears by approximately 85% and Grand Staircase by almost 50%. Biden also reinstated protections in Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument after Trump’s 2020 decision to open it to commercial fishing. Bears Ears NM was originally designated at 1.35 million acres by President Barack Obama in 2016, and Grand Staircase was set at 1.9 million acres by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
The members, graduates and students of the Ascend program in Afghanistan need help. The nonprofit has offered leadership training for young Afghan women through mountaineering courses, and now that Taliban forces have seized control over much of the country, including the nation’s capital city of Kabul, people who do not adhere to the Taliban’s strict laws–such as organizations like Ascend that empower women–may now be in mortal danger. This article contains links for people who wish to help.
Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs: A dietary supplement geared especially for vegans, alpinists and older athletes
Mountain Standards Gear Review: Digital Editor Derek Franz has been using the Gnarly Nutrition Pre and BCAA (branched chain amino acid) dietary supplements for the past year. Though unable to definitively say how much of a difference, if any, the supplements have made for his fitness, he writes: “What I do know, is that my fitness has been on an upward roll lately, and Gnarly has been one of many ingredients along the way, so I can’t discount it.” As with most any dietary supplement, Franz notes, there can be serious side effects if they aren’t used properly. Four stars.
On July 13 and 14, Andres Marin, Anna Pfaff and Alex Torres completed a new route on Concha de Caracol (5640m) in Peru’s Cordillera Vilcanota. Cerveza, Pan y Acido (ED: 90°, 700m), which translates as “beer, bread and acid,” is the second route on the mountain’s south face. The climbers weathered an open bivy below the summit at 5500 meters and Marin and Pfaff suffered some frostbite on their feet, from which they are currently recovering.