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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.

Derek Franz and friends avoiding the usual mule train of climbers on Pingora's Northeast Buttress (5.8)--one of the Fifty Crowded Classics of North America--by climbing it in drizzly weather in 2019, Wind River Range, Wyoming. [Photo] Derek Franz

Derek Franz begins new role as editor-in-chief of Alpinist

Alpinist has named Derek Franz as the new editor-in-chief. Franz began freelancing for the magazine in 2011 and joined the Alpinist staff as digital editor in September 2016. “I’m truly humbled and honored to start this new chapter for the magazine,” Franz says. “As the new editor-in-chief I will do my best to uphold the tradition of excellence that has been ingrained with the brand since Alpinist 0 was published in 2002.”

Michael Kennedy in 1976, after the first ascent of the Ames Ice Hose with Steve Shea and Lou Dawson. [Photo] Michael Kennedy collection

The World Between the Pages

In this Sharp End story from Alpinist 79–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Alpinist’s departing editor-in-chief Katie Ives ponders the fates of climbing publications and says farewell after ten years at the helm of the magazine. She writes: “I am leaving for other paths. The magazine will go on, with your help. And I hope that I will continue to meet you, in the mountains and in our words….”

Yosemite National Park

Mountains of Grief

“When the mountain community…grapples with the accidental death of one of its members,” Anna Callaghan writes, “only one thing is certain: it’s going to happen again.” Through interviews with several climbers who’ve lost loved ones to the mountains, Callaghan explores the ways in which people across the climbing community are banding together to address grief and support the bereaved.

Madaleine Sorkin during her free ascent of the Dunn-Westbay Direct (IV 5.14-, 4 pitches, 1,000') on the Diamond of Longs Peak (Neniisotoyou'u, 14,255') on August 10. [Photo] Henna Taylor

Madaleine Sorkin becomes the first woman to free climb Dunn-Westbay Direct (5.14-)

On August 10, Madaleine Sorkin, 40, enjoyed a no-falls day on the Dunn-Westbay Direct (IV 5.14-, 4 pitches, 1,000′) on the Diamond of Longs Peak (Neniisotoyou’u, 14,255′) in Rocky Mountain National Park. This makes her the first woman and fifth person overall to free climb the route on lead. The crux pitch is about 270 feet long and requires an 80-meter rope, and the route from Broadway Ledge sits above 13,000 feet in elevation.

Francois Franz Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco climbing the Aosta Valley Express variation (AI 90° M6 85°, 1400m) up to Camp 2 (ca. 6000m) on the Kinshofer Route on Nanga Parbat (8125m). [Photo] Courtesy of Yodel press agency

A new variation to Camp 2 and a speed ascent on Nanga Parbat

In late June and early July, a group of climbing guides from Italy’s Aosta Valley completed a variation to Camp 2 and a speed ascent on Nanga Parbat (8125m). On June 26, Francois “Franz” Cazzanelli and Pietro Picco climbed a 1400-meter variation up to Camp 2 on the Kinshofer Route (ca. 6000m) in alpine style in a single push from Base Camp. They called the variation the Aosta Valley Express (AI 90° M6 85°). On July 4, Cazzanelli summited the Kinshofer Route from Base Camp (4200m) without bottled oxygen in 20 hours, 20 minutes.

The tester racks up for some winter rock climbing in the Eastern Sierra (traditional lands of the Paiute, Mono and other Indigenous groups) to test the movement and breathability of the Patagonia Dual Aspect kit. [Photo] Miya Tsudome collection

Patagonia Women’s Dual Aspect Jacket and Bibs: Stay dry in the mountains without sacrificing comfort or function

If you want to fantasize about snow in the middle of summer, check out Miya Tsudome’s review of the Patagonia Dual Aspect Jacket and Bibs. She reports that the company’s proprietary H2No performance standard for waterproofing is lightweight and passed “the hose test,” but it does give up some durability compared to Gore-Tex. Added pluses are that the garments are made from recycled materials and do not contain any perfluorinated chemicals in their waterproof finish, and the bibs are “bathroom compatible” for women. Tsudome writes: “I would recommend this kit to the serious alpinist who sees herself spending a lot of time climbing or skiing in mountain environments where water resistance and maneuverability from a hard shell are paramount.” Five stars.

Annapurna (8091m). [Photo] Wolfgang Beyer, Wikimedia

Researchers challenge historical records for 8000-meter peaks

A team of researchers has been working for the past several years analyzing summit photos from the world’s highest peaks–particularly on Dhaulagiri (8167m), Manaslu (8163m) and Annapurna (8091m). On July 8, one of them, Eberhard Jurgalski, announced in a report on that they could only find evidence to confirm ascents to the actual apex of all 14 8000-meter peaks by three people: Ed Viesturs (USA), Veikka Gustafsson (Finland) and Nirmal Purja (Nepal/UK). The research continues and decisions remain about how to handle long-established records.

Photographer Bob Gaines: Werner [Braun] clowning around, ca. 1983. Scott Cosgrove was there too. Just a great day of fun-in-the-sun free soloing. [Photo] Bob Gaines

Fifty Years in Yosemite: The soft-spoken legacy of Werner Braun, “Mr. Astroman”

Earl Bates traces stories from the 50-year career of Werner Braun, one of Yosemite’s most reticent Stonemasters. Braun retired from his work in the Valley last year and moved to St. George, Utah, with his wife Merry. Braun was among the best free soloists of his generation and ultimately proved himself to be a significant asset to the Park Service and Yosemite Search and Rescue, but you won’t hear him say so. In his typical fashion, Braun continues to shy away from recognition, and that is why some of Yosemite’s best stories may never be told.

[Photo] Courtesy of Science History Institute

Tool Users: Sun Protection

In this Tool Users story from Alpinist 78–which is now on newsstands and in our online store–Sarah Pickman traces the early development of sun protection. As Western scientists debated the cause of sunburn in the nineteenth century, she explains, some researchers “turned to a community with plenty of experience getting burned: alpinists.”