“A peak can exercise the same irresistible power as an abyss,” Theophile Gautier wrote in 1868. Robert Macfarlane’s new book Underland explores the landscapes below our feet where, as Sarah Boon writes in her review, “people appear to find something similar in caves to what they experience in the mountains–clarity of thought and vision.”
As they praise the publication of She Explores–a 2019 anthology of women’s outdoor stories and photos–Alpinist editors Katie Ives, Paula Wright and Derek Franz write, “We felt struck by two thoughts: how rare outdoor publications like this book, with such a variety of women’s images and voices, were in the past; and how much the field of outdoor literature still needs to broaden to include the vast constellations of under-represented and long-silenced voices today.”
Ten-year-old Selah Schneiter of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, climbed the Nose of El Capitan (VI 5.8 C2, 2,900′) on June 13 after a casual five-day ascent with her dad Mike Schneiter and their close family friend Mark Regier. Selah appears to have the youngest documented ascent of the Big Stone, but the age record wasn’t part of Selah’s or her parents’ incentives. “We did this climb for us; it was her energy and her idea,” said Mike, who is an AMGA guide.
Chris Kalman details his experience with the D4 Octapod, a unique portaledge designed by the legendary big-wall gear inventor John Middendorf. Kalman tells the story of his early frustrations with the D4 ledge and how he ultimately came to love it, awarding it five stars.
The following story is an Ahwahneechee creation story of Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La (El Capitan) as told by Julia Parker, an Ahwahneechee descendant of Yosemite Valley, mother of climbing legend Ron Kauk and the grandmother of Ron’s son, Lonnie Kauk. This story originally appeared as a sidebar to a feature about the Kauk family, Lonnie’s childhood in Yosemite and how he made the first redpoint of his father’s route “Magic Line,” for which the story is named.
Five bodies found in avalanche debris on the flanks of Nanda Devi East / Sunanda Devi; three others presumed dead
Eight climbers are presumed to have been killed in a large avalanche on the flanks of Nanda Devi East / Sunanda Devi in the Indian Himalaya while attempting an unclimbed satellite peak referred to by its elevation as Peak 6477. Photos from a helicopter search conducted by the Indian military on June 3 showed evidence of five bodies in the avalanche debris, which was near their last known camp at around 5400 meters. The other three members of the group are presumed dead.
Tad McCrea used the Cnoc Vecto and Versa Flow Gravity Water Filtering System on an expedition to Aconcagua where the rivers ran thick and brown with sediment. The simple, lightweight Vecto-Versa system worked well and kept Tad healthy. He awards it four stars.
Last April, as she scouted ice climbs deep within Canada’s Banff National Park, Michelle Kadatz was engulfed by an avalanche that swept her 650 feet down slope and buried her at a depth far beyond the reach of her partners’ avalanche probes. While entombed thirteen feet under, she experienced something that seemed as improbable as her eventual rescue. One year later, Jayme Moye recounts Kadatz’s accident.
Chris Kalman recently took the 7mm Maxim Personal Escape Rope to the big wall jungle of Cochamo, Chile, where he used the tag line to haul gear and rappel while exploring new routes. The Maxim PER is designed to be strong, light, water-resistant and its stiffness makes it less prone to getting snagged. Kalman reports that the rope is a great tool for alpinists, though they should be careful hauling with it to avoid core shots. Four stars.
The American Alpine Club is hosting its annual Excellence in Climbing Celebration on June 1 at its headquarters in Golden, Colorado. Tickets start at $20. Laura Waterman and Ken Yager will be inducted into the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence and Kelly Cordes–this year’s recipient of the H. Adams Carter Literary Award–will deliver the keynote address.