The Beckey Effect
When he died last October, Fred Beckey, often referred to as the "indomitable," left behind an unprecedented legacy of first ascents across North America, as well as a legend shaped by decades of lore from all who encountered him in the mountains. In this article, Brad Rassler unravels the myth of the "original dirtbag," while Megan E. Bond, Alex Bertulis, Cameron M. Burns and Douglas McCarty share encounters with one of the most prolific and complicated alpinists of our time.
Forty years after Bob Plumb and Dave Stutzman's first ascent of the North Pillar on Devils Thumb (Taalkhunaxhk'u Shaa), Cole Taylor sails to the Stikine Icecap of Alaska, alone, to complete an unsupported solo second ascent of the route.
Dreaming of Afghan Mountains
In the 1960s and 70s, Afghanistan hosted some of the world's most accomplished alpinists. Then, with the Soviet invasion and the Afghan Civil War, mountaineering disappeared from the country for more than two decades. Now, amid the ongoing fighting between the US, the Taliban and other forces, Eileen Guo recounts efforts of local and international alpinists to restore a mountain tourism economy.
Glimmers in the Dark
In early October 2017, Inge Perkins and her boyfriend Hayden Kennedy were caught in an avalanche that she did not survive. Kennedy later died by suicide. In the aftermath, Derek Franz remembers his friendship with Kennedy, a two-time Piolet d'Or winner who shunned publicity and who had long seemed to be seeking a deeper connection with the world.
In 1872 American climber Clarence King revealed a strange and audacious hoax; more than 145 years later, the myth of the mountain of diamonds still haunts the Western landscape.
One reader considers the age-old question: if an alpinist solos in the Cascades and there is no one to Instagram it, does it matter? Another shares the stoke with an Alpinist Cover Guy.
On a trip to the rarely visited Leaning Towers in British Columbia's Purcell Wilderness, Jenny Abegg considers the limits of what it means to leave no trace. Meanwhile, Paula Wright finds Horn's mother
Emily Stifler Wolfe climbs a "different kind of big wall" under the light of the moon. Kathy Karlo considers the value of sentimentality in climbing. Tashi Sherpa stands atop Denali twice in three days—and explains why. And Laura Waterman becomes a mountain steward.
"Mountaineering history might be dominated by the winners," German scholar Caroline Schaumann writes. "But mountaineering literature is frequently written by those who have to come to terms with failure." In this essay, Schaumann suggests that the literary theme of the "art of failure" was perfected by the Prussian naturalist and adventurer Alexander von Humboldt, whose philosophic writings and attempt on Chimborazo propelled him to fame in the early nineteenth century.
After the death of Ueli Steck, Stephan Siegrist recalls the friendship that grew between them on the terrifying North Face of the Eiger, the mountain that the late Swiss alpinist called "home."
Kapil Bisht profiles Lopsang Tshering Sherpa, whose impressive feats as a high-altitude expedition staff member and later sirdar on expeditions to Kumbhakarna (Jannu) and Annapurna have long been overlooked.
Jerry Auld describes a close encounter in the Seward Glacier.