In this feature from Alpinist 67, which is now available on newsstands and in our online store, Claire Giordano shares stories and paintings that depict her search for hope in an era of melting ice, endangered glaciers and climate crises. After recovering from a severe childhood illness, she grew up to become a mountaineer and an artist, using her climbs and her paints to explore the fragility of both wild landscapes and human life. With this collection of mountain watercolors, she searches for hope in an era of melting ice, endangered glaciers and climate crises. “We walk the line between shadow and light,” she writes, “and we slowly move forward.”
Human Dimensions of Climate Change in the Himalaya: An interview with anthropologist Pasang Yangjee Sherpa
Alpinist Managing Editor Paula Wright interviewed Pasang Yangjee Sherpa for the Alpinist Podcast in 2017 and followed up with her again this month. Born in Kathmandu, Yangjee Sherpa is an anthropologist who specializes in the human dimensions of climate change in the Himalaya. She says that “mountaineers are really well equipped to be advocates for talking about climate change…because of the kind of intimate relationship mountaineers have with the natural landscape, with mountains, snow and glaciers…. So I would like mountaineers to speak more about it and share what they know with the public.”
Climbers and activists are meeting this week in Washington, DC, to lobby Congress on a host of issues, including the climate crisis, energy development and leasing reform, recreation access and enhancement, and public land management agency funding, in addition to recreation and conservation land designations such as the ongoing legal battle over national monuments that were reduced by the Trump Administration in 2017. Known as Climb the Hill, the event is the fourth annual lobbying session organized by the Access Fund and the American Alpine Club.
Whitney Clark tested the Mystery Ranch Scepter 50 backpack in Patagonia and in the Sierra Nevada Range. She reports that the pack provides a comfortable suspension system and is great for hauling loads. “I think that the Scepter 50 does really well if you have just the perfect amount of gear, but it does not adjust well to smaller or bigger loads,” she writes. Four stars.
Jean (Jene) Crenshaw–the cofounder of Summit magazine, the first monthly publication dedicated to climbing in the US–died September 2 in Big Bear, California, at age 95. She was preceded in death by her close friend and Summit cofounder Helen Kilness, who died at age 96 in 2018.
Two Alpinist stories included on the longlist for Banff Mountain Book Competition; Boardman Tasker shortlist also announced
Two stories from Alpinist 66 are on the longlist for Best Mountaineering Article in the 2019 Banff competition: “13 Feet Under” By Jayme Moye, and “Magic Line,” by Lonnie Kauk with Paula Wright. The shortlist for the Boardman Tasker Award is also announced.
Chris Kalman put the Scarpa Maestro Mid through the paces on different styles of climbs to see how they compared to his La Sportiva TC Pros, which have set the standard for this type of shoe for several years. Kalman notes some differences between the shoes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, and concludes that the Scarpa Maestros are a solid alternative, especially for people who have not found an ideal fit in the TC Pros. Four stars.
In 2015, Hayden Kennedy and Whit Magro spent a week in Wyoming’s Wind River Range establishing a route over new terrain over halfway up the northeast face of Mt. Hooker. On the last day of their trip, they free climbed to Der Minor Ledge, 800 feet from the top of the wall, where they traversed right and finished on the Boissonneault-Larson. They dubbed their route Gambling in the Winds (5.12). In the aftermath of Kennedy’s death in October 2016, his friends Jesse Huey and Maury Birdwell returned to Mt. Hooker over the last two seasons to complete his route. Last year was “dismally cold and wet,” Huey told Alpinist. But this year they managed to free the remaining 800 feet directly to the top, spending two days on the wall, August 9-10. Two weeks later, Magro managed a one-day, team-free ascent with Harrison Teuber.
Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz tested the Sea to Summit Alpha Pot Cookset and awarded it five stars for its “lightweight, compact, self-contained and user friendly” design.
On August 3-7, the Scottish alpinist Simon Richardson and Canadian alpinist Ian Welsted made what is likely the first complete ascent of the West Ridge of Mt. Waddington in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and possibly the first traverse of the mountain (from Fury Gap to Rainy Knob) as well. “The crenellated upper west ridge… is such a major structural feature,” Richardson said, “it is difficult for the 21st Century alpinist to believe it was unclimbed, especially on a mountain with the stature of Mt. Waddington. But in today’s world, where technical difficulty is often paramount, there are still major lines that have been overlooked. Quite simply, the complete West Ridge of Waddington should have been climbed decades ago!”