In this Full Value story from Alpinist 60, David Stevenson gets caught in a storm returning from a hut trip in Alaska and suffers a heart attack, forcing him and his partner to spend a cold night in a shallow snow cave. In the aftermath he discovers a new significance to a haunting experience that happened decades earlier in his childhood home.
Chris Van Leuven used the Black Diamond ATC Pilot to catch gear-ripping falls and liked its simple design and smooth rope handling so well that it became his go-to belay device for single-pitch cragging. Five stars.
In this On Belay story that first appeared in Alpinist 60, Jeff Snyder writes of completing a first free ascent of the Southeast Face of Zoroaster Temple (III 5.11+ R, 520′) in the Grand Canyon with Zach Harrison and Blake McCord. The climbing was dangerous and crumbly in a hot desert, but Snyder discovers an appeal that is rooted far deeper than the cacti that pioneering climbers once slung for protection on the Temple’s first documented ascent in 1958.
Strange Days: A look back on the previous 11 months surrounding Bears Ears National Monument and a glance at the future
Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz documents the 11-month saga over Bears Ears National Monument, which was recently reduced by 85 percent of its original size by President Donald Trump, along with Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument, which was reduced by half of its 1.9 million acres. A series of lawsuits that are expected to reach the US Supreme Court and voracious action by groups including the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, Utah Dine Bikeyah, Access Fund, Friends of Cedar Mesa and many others provides a glimmer of hope for those who would prefer to see the monuments remain intact.
Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz used the Mountain Equipment Xeros 800-fill, Russian Goose Down bag in warm, sweaty conditions as well as cold, wet ones, and the bag kept him remarkably dry and comfortably warm. “I have never experienced a more efficient sleeping bag,” he reports. Five stars.
Larcher and Zangerl make a rare free ascent of El Cap’s Magic Mushroom (5.14a) at the end of another busy season for the Big Stone
It’s been another productive season for climbers on El Capitan: Jacopo Larcher and Barbara Zangerl made a rare free ascent of Magic Mushroom (VI 5.14a, 2,900′) on El Capitan, topping out on December 10 after an 11-day push from the ground. Brad Gobright and Jim Reynolds set a new speed record on the Nose on October 21, and Keita Kurakami redpointed all individual pitches on the Nose (5.14a) on November 15 but plans to return and climb it in better style.
In this guest feature from the American Alpine Journal, Antoine Girard documents an experiment that utilized paragliders to approach peaks in Nepal’s Langtang Himal that tend to be inaccessible because of difficult approaches or objective hazards. Girard and his partner, Julien Dusserre, landed at 6200 meters on Shalbachum (6707m), where they planned to climb alpine-style to the summit, but storms forced them to retreat. Weather patterns also prevented them from landing on their main objective–Langtang Lirung (7227m)–but they gained enough experience to prove to themselves that approaching peaks with paragliders could work.
National legal fight begins after Trump alters Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments by more than half
On December 4, President Donald Trump signed two proclamations to shrink Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by more than half of their current acreage. Changes to other monuments are expected to come, and a handful of lawsuits have been filed in response to Trump’s action since December 4.
Whitney Clark takes the Sterling Fusion Nano IX along for some rugged granite adventures in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The 9mm rope can be used as a thick half-rope or a skinny single rope, and features Sterling’s new DryXP treatment, which exceeds the UIAA certification of less than 5 percent water absorption, keeping the rope light and durable in even the wettest conditions. Clark put those claims to the test and awarded the Fusion Nano IX five stars.
Alpinist 60 completes our two-part Mountain Profile of la Meije–a mountain often referred to as the Matterhorn of the Dauphine Alps. In this article, we interview Erin Smart, the author of the Mountain Profile, about the process and the quirky stories she encountered from the mountain’s slopes.