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Bea Vogel forging her own pitons at the Stanford Engineering Lab in 1952. [Photo] Bea Vogel collection

Bea and Me

In this story from Alpinist 79 (Autumn 2022), a 1952 photo of a woman who forged pitons inspires Lauren Delaunay Miller to embark on a journey to learn more about Bea Vogel, an early Yosemite climber and ardent activist, for whom the right to choose was paramount–on the rock and in the rest of life. Delaunay Miller’s book “Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing” recently received the Banff Mountain Book Award Climbing Literature Award.

Matt Cornell, Jackson Marvell and Alan Rousseau at the point where the Slovak Direct joins the Cassin Ridge. [Photo] Jackson Marvell

Fast times on Slovak Direct: Two teams speed up one of Denali’s hardest routes in a day

At 2 a.m. on May 15, Matt Cornell, Jackson Marvell and Alan Rousseau topped out on the Slovak Direct (5.9 X M6 WI6+) on Denali (20,310′), completing the route in just 21 hours, 35 minutes. It was a staggeringly fast time, but the record didn’t last long. On June 3, Michael Gardner, Sam Hennessey and Rob Smith fired the route in 17 hours, 10 minutes. All six climbers are friends and expressed happiness for everyone’s success. “The conditions this year are like nothing I’ve seen in 10 years,” Gardner told Alpinist. “People who’ve been climbing there longer than I have are saying the same thing.”

Image 1 of 2: This photo and the one below originally appeared as a panorama across two pages in Alpinist 75; it has been split into two frames to allow for better viewing on the webpage. It shows the view from Mt. Ilse (2506m), during its first ascent by Natalia Martinez and Camilo Rada in April 2021, in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Mt. Ilse is named for Ilse von Rentzell, who roamed the area in 1933. Only one of the summits in this photo has been climbed, Martinez says. [Photo] Camilo Rada/UNCHARTED project

Living Maps of Patagonia: Toward a New Future of Exploration

“The Future of Alpinism,” is the theme of Alpinist 75–which is now on newsstands and in our online store. This special issue includes 18 essays from authors around the globe, along with comments and quotes from many others on the topic. We are sharing eight of these essays online, including this one by Natalia Martinez and Camilo Rada, titled “Living Maps of Patagonia: Toward a New Future of Exploration.” They write: “We decided…to create living maps. These are maps that do not adhere to official names. Instead, we follow a historical approach trying to help restore the heritage of Indigenous people and explorers. We constantly update the maps to record each new ascent, each new encounter and each new adventure. Our aim is to create maps that are not only a miniature of a place’s geography, but that convey the feelings the geography evokes as well as the passions of those who have striven to unravel it…. Many of the unclimbed peaks that appear insignificant on sheets of contour lines could present some of the finest alpine challenges of these regions.”

Half Dome (Tisayac), Yosemite National Park, California, Miwok, Ahwahneechee, Paiute and Mono lands. [Photo] David Iliff. License: CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

The Climbing Life | Alpinist 75

Alpinist 75 will be available on newsstands soon. In the meantime, we’re offering a preview of The Climbing Life section, with a story by Douglas Brockmeyer about a 1970s magazine photo that inspired him to become a climber (and thus changed the course of his existence), poems by Katherine Indermaur about the fourth-century pilgrim Egeria and her ascent of Mt. Sinai, and fiction by Erin Connery that explores some of the many ways people think about high cliffs and walls.

Evangelista Torricelli experimenting in the Alps with a barometer, 1643. [Illustration] Ernest Board, Wikimedia

Tool Users: Barometer

What’s a glass instrument measuring four feet long and filled with mercury doing in your rucksack? In this Tool Users story from Alpinist 71, Caroline Schaumann and Bruce Willey reveal the history of the glass barometer.

Khamsang Wangdi Sherpa pictured (center of top photo) with two Ladakhi Instructors. [Bottom] Front row, left to right: Pasang Temba, Srikar Amladi, Khamsang Wangdi Sherpa. Back row: unknown. [Photo] Srikar Amladi collection; courtesy The Sherpa Project (both)

Local Hero: Khamsang Wangdi Sherpa

In this Local Hero story that first appeared in Alpinist 71, Deepa Balsavar and Nandini Purandare recount the life of Khamsang Wangdi Sherpa, who was born in Nepal in 1932 and was ahead of his time when he started the Sherpa Guide School in 1966 near Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Balsavar and Purandare write, “A gentle and far-thinking man, Khamsang Wangdi Sherpa remains an unsung hero of mountaineering: a superb climber, teacher, leader and entrepreneur, and a compassionate soul. His story deserves to be told.”

Ed Roberson on Mt. Washington (Agiocochook), New Hampshire, date unknown. [Photo] Courtesy Frank Daugherty

Beyond the Field Notes: Ed Roberson on Climbing and Poetry

In this feature from Alpinist 71, Sarah Audsley interviews poet Ed Roberson. Born in 1939 in Pittsburgh, Roberson nurtured a burgeoning curiosity for the world from a young age. On his first major mountaineering expedition, he made the second ascent of Nevado Jangyaraju III (5450m) in Peru. Herein, Roberson discusses how his notes from the field came to shape some of his prize-winning work.

The south face of la Meije (3983m) and the upper Etancons Valley, with the Glacier Carre covered in snow during spring, Massif des Ecrins, France. [Photo] Manu Rivaud

Melting Giants: La Meije, Massif des Ecrins, France

For 141 years since its first ascent, mountaineers from around the world traveled to climb la Meije in the Massif des Ecrins of France. Meanwhile, the permafrost that held its stones together was melting. On August 7, 2018, rockfall destroyed much of the normal route. In this On Belay story from Alpinist 68, two locally based guides–Benjamin Ribeyre and Erin Smart–recount a search for a new way up the peak amid the uncertainties of the planet’s future.