The Cleanest Line

Climbing

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

Photo: Gary Regester

Tom Frost, Off Belay

By Patagonia   |   Aug 25, 2018 August 25, 2018

Patagonia mourns the loss of Tom Frost, Yvon Chouinard’s former climbing and business partner, who passed away Friday morning. Tom, with Yvon, Chuck Pratt and Royal Robbins, made the first ascent of the North America Wall of El Capitan in 1964. He made other notable first ascents with Valley pioneers… Read More

Sonnie and his family in Yosemite, one of countless stops they’ll make over the course of their year on the road. Photo: Sonnie Trotter

The Only Constant Is Change

By Sonnie Trotter   |   Jul 12, 2018 July 12, 2018

I’m sitting on a sunny bench in some random park in central Oregon holding my eight-month-old daughter in my arms and watching my four-year-old son launch himself down a slide. We’ve been on the road as a family for nearly a month now, and the daily hunt for a decent… Read More

Emptying rocks from the shoes atop Mt. Russell, with a view a Mt. Whitney. Photo: Erik Schulte

California 14er-fest

By Erik Schulte   |   May 30, 2018 May 30, 2018

Groggily I stirred in the sweaty musk of my sleeping bag. I’d spent the night on the hard concrete slab directly outside the Independence campground’s pit toilets, with the wafting stench of shit enveloping my fitful slumber. I shut my eyes, trying to forget where I was. My hips were… Read More

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