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The author wearing the Patagonia Micro Puff jacket on Prodigal Sun in Zion last October. [Photo] Derek Franz

Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody: better than down

Alpinist digital editor Derek Franz tested the Patagonia Micro Puff jacket and found that the lightweight, synthetic garment outperforms those of similar weights with down feathers. “It lives up to the hype,” Franz writes. Five stars.

Summit group photo on Langdung (6357m), Nepal, December 20. [Photo] Courtesy Dawa Yangzum Sherpa

Sherpa team succeeds on first ascent of Langdung (6357m) in Nepal

A team of four Sherpa alpinists completed the first ascent of Langdung peak (6357m) in December 2017. Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, the team’s only woman and Nepal’s first IFMGA guide, was instrumental in organizing the ascent, which included Dawa Gyalje Sherpa, Pasang Kidar Sherpa and Nima Tenji Sherpa. Here is the story of their climb and an interview with Dawa Yangzum about what it’s like to be a woman in the mountains.

Clarence King (far right) with other members of the Geological Survey of California in 1864. [Photo] Silas Selleck, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The Mountain of Diamonds

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 61, Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives ponders the legend of the “mountain of diamonds” in nineteenth-century American history and the obsession with the idea of hidden riches: “How quickly visions of distant summits turn into longings for conquest, exploitation and gain. But if an imaginary peak is a creation of desire, its elusiveness might also hint at more insubstantial or transcendent things.”

View of Devils Thumb (Taalkhunaxhk'u Shaa) from the front yard of Dieter Klose. [Photo] Mike McMahon

Pressure Lift

In this story from Alpinist 61, Cole Taylor recounts his solo journey of sailing north along the Pacific coast from Washington, navigating miles of crevassed glaciers and pulling off the second ascent of the North Pillar of Devils Thumb (Taalkhunaxhk’u Shaa) with borrowed gear, 40 years after it was first done by Bob Plumb and Dave Stutzman.

Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award recipients announced

Anthony Marra, Jessica Kelley and Alex Gaber are the first recipients of the inaugural Kyle Dempster Solo Adventure Award, which was created to honor the legacy of the revered alpinist and soloist. These three adventurers plan to climb, bike, ski and surf in New Zealand, Alaska and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Fred Beckey on the summit of Mt. Goode. [Photo] Douglas McCarty

A Short Stretch of Fred’s Road

In this story from Alpinist 61, Douglas McCarty recalls his adventures on the road with Fred Beckey, which started in 1972 when McCarty and a friend hopped a freight train from Montana to Seattle, where the 17-year-olds subsequently met Beckey. Since then, McCarty joined the legendary mountaineer on trips to Alaska, China, Kenya, Mexico and Tanzania, with urban bivies at public parks in between.