The Cleanest Line

Climbing

The 1964 red-cover guidebook was Yosemite Valley’s first collection of climbs. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

The Red Book

By Timmy O’Neill   |   Oct 10, 2019 October 10, 2019

Lessons from Yosemite’s first climbing guidebook “I have this idea,” Mikey texted last October. “Let’s climb all of the suggested routes from the Yosemite red-cover guidebook.” I agreed immediately. The tattered copy of A Climber’s Guide to Yosemite Valley arrived in the mail less than a week later. First published in… Read More

Jane Jackson tops out an unmanned V2 overlooking the year-round Canadian River. In the background are a few remaining Osage orange trees from the Mills Orchard Ranch. Photo: Eric Bissell

Roy, New Mexico

By Eric Bissell   |   Sep 27, 2019 September 27, 2019

The patchwork history of public lands that transformed the area around a small New Mexico town into a world-class bouldering area We left the Mills Canyon Rim Campground, where we’d been living for three cold January weeks, just before dawn on our last morning in New Mexico. I pulled over… Read More

The volunteer team, made up of climbing rangers, Climber Stewards and volunteers, look at the massive pile of trash amassed from one of the many caches atop El Capitan. Photo: Eric Bissell

Cache vs. Trash

By Jane Jackson   |   Sep 25, 2019 September 25, 2019

On an incredibly clear, early autumn morning, the aging Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) van bumped along Tioga Pass Road, taking precariously tight turns at an alarming speed. Twelve of us were crammed in the back, chattering and bracing ourselves against the van’s interior walls. When the road was no… Read More

Alex sticks the iconic crux move—a dead point off a right-hand mono to a terrible pinch—on the FA of Perfecto Mundo, one of the hardest routes in the world. Photo: Ken Etzel

There Is Only Send or Fail. Just ask Alex Megos

By Alex Lowther   |   Sep 2, 2019 September 2, 2019

Alex Megos is driving his aging Volkswagen down the curvy roads that thread the valleys of the Frankenjura. It’s June in rural Bavaria, where rolling green meets broad blue. The pavement reveals an occasional storybook village arrayed around a church steeple. Alex has made this hour-long trip,… Read More

“Somehow, the desert would always remain in the recesses of my mind—that project I’d get to the next season, that crack we scoped that we needed to get anchors on or sometimes just that meditation and erasing of anything from the past or present.” -Luke Mehall, The Desert. Photo: Greg Cairns

The Magic of the Desert

By Luke Mehall   |   Aug 23, 2019 August 23, 2019

The creation of Bears Ears National Monument was something that seemed more inevitable in the summer of 2016. It seems like now it’s one of those things where you’re on one side or the other because after all, I’m writing this book in the Trump years, and… Read More

Photo: Will Strathmann

Challenging Adversity

By Kitty Calhoun   |   Jul 12, 2019 July 12, 2019

As I labored under the weight of a heavy pack and took my turn breaking trail in the soft snow in the quest to establish a new route on a Himalayan peak, I was also mired in self-doubt. I was with three men who were much stronger than me, and… Read More

Anne Gilbert Chase and Brittany Griffith get the beta on Alam Kuh from Iranian climbers Habibi and Sholmaz, friends and partners from Tabriz. During our time at base camp, we got to know Habibi, Sholmaz and many other Iranian climbers, who would come by our camp to welcome us to Iran and the Alborz Mountains, and to talk about climbing, life and politics. We were a fascinating anomaly, but being climbers made us break that down. Photo: Beth Wald

Finding Refuge in Iran

By Beth Wald   |   May 29, 2019 May 29, 2019

Fog from the distant Caspian Sea swirled around us as we left the road, crossed a narrow mountain stream on a rickety footbridge of wornwooden planks, passed a pungent corral full of dank, scruffy sheep, and started the steep climb to Alam Kuh base camp in the Alborz mountain range… Read More

Will it go? Ian Cooper (left) and Robbie Phillips scope the terrain above. When every pitch on a route requires something different than all the others, planning and creativity are crucial. Photo: Drew Smith

A Very Real Possibility

By Robbie Phillips   |   Jan 15, 2019 January 15, 2019

On establishing a route in Cochamó Valley that might be too hard—but might not. It often blows me away, the apparent randomness that sets the paths leading us through life. Just over a year ago, a friend of mine met Crispin Waddie while working on an oil rig in the… Read More

Lean and mean. Using only tiny granite edges and small blobs of ice, Chris Mutzel finds the first pitch of Exocet on Aguja Standhardt to be run out, rime-covered and extra-heady. Argentine Patagonia. Photo: Austin Siadak

Inclement Gifts

By Rolando Garibotti   |   Dec 14, 2018 December 14, 2018

Weather has a way of complicating—and enriching—everything. By the time I top out, it’s snowing and it’s dark. I walk back as far as the rope will let me, and in the flattest spot I can find, I dig a hole and sit, bracing myself. I yell, “Rope-fixed!” repeatedly, but… Read More

The approach to advanced base camp was threatened by large seracs 
 above. We started very early, hoping 
 to beat the sun and falling ice. Chantel and I moved as fast as we could through this crevassed area to get to a point of relative safety. Photo: Jason Thompson

What Was Left

By Anne Gilbert Chase   |   Dec 10, 2018 December 10, 2018

After a failed first attempt, three friends return to India’s Mount Nilkantha to confront—and embrace—the terrible, beautiful duality of a life in the mountains. It was our third day on the southwest face of Mount Nilkantha, what we’d thought would be our summit day, and it was my lead block. Read More

Quinn on January 14, 2018. Estes Park, Colorado. Photo: Tim Davis

Letting Go

By Quinn Brett   |   Oct 8, 2018 October 8, 2018

A climber describes her passion for the wildness of the world. My brother’s cheeks smooshed against the blue velour seat and his mouth hung slightly ajar. His gangly legs stretched from door to door, covering the back bench of our family Buick. On the floor, parallel, I fidgeted over the… Read More

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