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56 minutes | Dec 21, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: “To Look the Bear in the Eye”
In this episode, Derek Franz narrates “To Look the Bear in the Eye: The Life of Yasushi Yamanoi,” a story by Sartaj Ghuman that was first published in Alpinist 62 (Summer 2018). Yamanoi is among the few who have established new climbs, alone and in alpine style, on 8000-meter peaks. His many significant climbs earned him a Piolet d’Or Asia Lifetime Achievement Award, but the Japanese alpinist is disinclined to self-promote. In this story Ghuman joins Yamanoi as a liaison officer on an expedition in the Zanskar region of India in search of a deeper dialogue with the wild. [Photo] Yasushi Yamanoi collection This episode is brought to you by Rab Equipment. Audio Production by Nick Mott.
51 minutes | Nov 10, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: "Less Rich Without You"
In this episode, Chris Kalman narrates “Less Rich Without You," a story by Nick Bullock that was first published in Alpinist 68 (Winter 2019-20). The story chronicles Bullock's attempt to climb a new route on Minya Konka, a 7556-meter peak in Sichuan Province, China, in 2018. At age 52, on his twenty-fourth expedition, he and Paul Ramsden make their way through the hazardous maze of an icefall amid heavy mist and falling snow—and through the allures and pitfalls of a modern professional climbing life. Narrated by Chris Kalman. Audio Production by Nick Mott. [Photo] Nick Bullock This episode is possible thanks to the support of Rab | The Mountain People.
42 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: “Melting Giants”
For 141 years since its first ascent, mountaineers from around the world traveled to climb la Meije in the Massif des Écrins 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 (Winter 2019-20), Benjamin Ribeyre and Erin Smart recount a search for a new way up the peak amid the uncertainties of the planet’s future. Narrated by Willow Belden. [Photo] Benjamin Ribeyre
53 minutes | Oct 16, 2020
Fire and Ice: Scott Coldiron
Scott Coldiron grew up in a low-income family with his single mother and two siblings near the remote peaks of Montana's Cabinet Range. He wrote in Alpinist 64, "Since childhood, I've found solace in harsh landscapes. Friendships formed on mountains insulate against a howling emptiness." After serving in the Iraq War and overcoming a subsequent debilitating illness, he built a career as a firefighter for the City of Spokane, Washington. Today, he explores rugged first ascents in ranges around the world, including the mountains he once gazed upon with wonder as a boy. Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz interviewed Coldiron at the Winter Outdoor Retailer in January 2020. Coldiron is pictured here climbing in an area known as the Thunderdome in the Cabinet Range. [Photo] Brian White
58 minutes | Sep 24, 2020
A Visit with Mark Twight
"Mark Twight began his self-described “descent into the black depths of extreme alpinism” in 1984. “This obsession,” as he wrote in the essay, “Kiss or Kill,” “destroyed my relationships, drove me into depression, and changed me from a happy, future-hopeful young man into an embittered cynic.” Twight is well-known for pushing the margins, both in his climbs and in his writing. In 1988, he and Randy Rackliff made the first ascent of “The Reality Bath,” a 600-meter ice climb in the Canadian Rockies that has yet to be repeated. That same year, Twight joined Barry Blanchard, Ward Robinson and Kevin Doyle in an alpine-style attempt of Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face. The climbers reached 7700 meters before a storm forced them to retreat amid lightning and multiple avalanches. In his writing of the same era, Twight often adopted a bold, brusque voice that earned him the persona “Dr. Doom.” Now a classic of mountain literature, the 2001 anthology Kiss or Kill includes writing that helped canonize the Dr. Doom persona, who delivered lines such as, “The new climbs of the age are yesterday’s death routes,” and “Punish your body to perfect your soul.” Twight stepped away from extreme alpinism in 2000. In his recently released book of photography, Refuge, Twight reflected, “Twenty-five of my years were governed by the demands imposed by mountains and climbing them, and the most difficult challenge I faced after having survived was to find satisfaction in the valley.” Deputy editor Paula Wright spoke with Twight at the Banff Mountain Book and Film Festival in November 2019. [Photo] Mike Thurk"
33 minutes | Aug 25, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: “Life Compass” by Brette Harrington
In this feature story from Alpinist 64 (Winter 2018-19), Brette Harrington writes about her life partner, Marc-André Leclerc, who died in the Mendenhall Towers of Alaska, with Ryan Johnson in March 2018. About a month after their deaths, she traveled to the Canadian Rockies to immerse herself in the wintry alpine landscapes that remind her most of Leclerc. Exploring unclimbed terrain on Mt. Blane, accompanied by Rose Pearson, she tries to reorient herself within the void of all she has lost. Narrated by Kathy Karlo. Brette Harrington and Marc-André Leclerc on the summit of Great Sail Peak, Baffin Island, after a one-day ascent of the West Buttress (5.12a, C1, 1100m) in 2016. [Photo] Josh Lavigne
37 minutes | Jul 6, 2020
"All that Glitters": Margo Talbot
In 2011 alpinist and speaker Margo Talbot published her memoir, "All that Glitters: A Climber's Journey through Addiction and Depression." In her book, she reflects candidly on her struggles with addiction and depression, as well as how ice climbing played a role in her recovery. Toward the end of "All that Glitters," Talbot writes, “In my years of searching, I had arrived at my own philosophy of life, the essence of which was that existence is a precious gift, and that every moment, whether in the throes of joy or the pit of despair, is equally to be treasured.” Deputy editor Paula Wright conducted this interview with Talbot at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in November 2019. [Photo] Alain Denis
14 minutes | May 11, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: “The Raven at the Door” by David Stevenson
In this Full Value story from Alpinist 60 (Winter 2017-18), 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. Narrated by Matthew Richardson. Audio production by Nick Mott. [Illustration] Andreas Schmidt
31 minutes | Apr 29, 2020
Alpinist Aloud: “The Force of the Soul,” by James Edward Mills
In this inaugural episode of Alpinist Aloud—a podcast project in which stories from our print magazine are read out loud—James Edward Mills reads his story from Alpinist 60 (Winter 2017-18). In “The Force of the Soul,” Mills recounts the life of Hugues Beauzile, the son of a Haitian immigrant who became one of the most promising young alpinists in France before his death on the South Face of Aconcagua 1995. Produced by Alpinist magazine and Height of Land Publications. Audio production by Nick Mott.
32 minutes | Jan 30, 2020
The Lifestyler: Chris Weidner
Chris Weidner began climbing as a teenager in the Pacific Northwest and is no stranger to being pinned on the summit of Mt. Rainier in a storm. The 45-year-old climbs 5.14 sport routes and continues to establish new free routes on the Diamond of Longs Peak and elsewhere. He has also written more than 300 articles related to climbing—for the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper, Alpinist and other climbing magazines—since about 2007. Weidner recently told Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz, "I think it's important to say that, along with these close relationships and the family feeling that climbing has given me over the years, I feel like it's also made me value lightheartedness.... And it's helped me realize that there's pretty much nothing in life worth stressing too hard about.... The other thing it reminds me of is just how important it is to be kind to people."
34 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
Climber, Transcending: Kai Lightner
Growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Kai Lightner learned to climb before he could walk. One day, when he was six years old, a passing stranger saw Lightner climbing a flagpole and handed his mother the address of a local climbing gym, and he hasn’t stopped climbing since. The winner of twelve national climbing titles, Lightner is a familiar face in the climbing competition circuit. Then in 2016, Doug Robinson—an outspoken voice of the clean climbing revolution in the 1970s—invited to take Lightner climbing at Stone Mountain, a trad climbing destination in North Carolina. Lightner wrote about the experience for Alpinist in Issue 55. “Before [that] trip,” Lightner reflected, “I'd never really thought about—or appreciated—the evolution of our pursuit from the traditional techniques of his generation to the sport I first encountered as a child.” In November 2019, deputy editor Paula Wright spoke to Lightner about the trip to Stone Mountain, and how his discipline as a climber transcends aspects of the sport.
41 minutes | Nov 21, 2019
Rethinking Mountaineering Histories: Amrita Dhar
“We need to acknowledge mountaineering as a profoundly social pursuit…. I strongly resist the idea that there is a kind of objective kind of excellence in mountaineering. The road to mountaineering achievement is not level. We need to understand where someone is starting from if we really want to understand what the road to the summit for them is like.” Literature professor and mountaineering scholar Amrita Dhar grew up in West Bengal. As a child, she vacationed in the Himalayan mountains with her family, and she has since spent a lot of time traveling through and thinking about mountains and the narratives that emerge from them. In this episode, Dhar talks with managing editor Paula Wright about how addressing some of the gaps in mountaineering history might also lead to reconceptualizing the pursuit of mountaineering itself.
34 minutes | Oct 21, 2019
From the Gunks to Desert Towers: Jeff Achey
In this episode, Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz interviews Jeff Achey, a prolific first ascensionist and author who lives in Western Colorado, where he co-owns Wolverine Publishing with his wife Amber Johnstone. After learning to climb in the Shawangunks as a teenager, Achey moved to Boulder, Colorado, for college and soon found himself roping up with some of the most prominent climbers of the era. That path led him to explore new routes across the state, from Eldo to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and into Utah’s Canyonlands, where desert towers dotted the landscape. He finished school with a Bachelor’s in biology and went to work as a photo editor for Climbing. Now 60 years old, he continues to establish difficult new routes while maintaining his writing career as a guidebook publisher.
26 minutes | Sep 25, 2019
Perspective: Robbi Mecus
“Perspective is a curious lens,” climber and forest ranger Robbi Mecus says. “If I never turn my gaze to the side, my interpretation of the world becomes static, unempathetic. Changing my vantage point brings me a fuller understanding. It brings me compassion. My life has been a constant shifting of perspective.” In the first part of this episode, Mecus talks about some of her earliest climbing memories and her work in search and rescue. In the second part of the episode, Mecus reads from her Alpinist 65 essay “Perspective,” in which she reflects on how coming out as transgender has shifted her lens on climbing.
39 minutes | Sep 9, 2019
Inner Ranges: Geoff Powter
"Mountains have always been the sharpest mirrors for me: they've simplified, purified and clarified my life, and have reliably shown me the better side of myself," Geoff Powter writes in his new book, Inner Ranges: An Anthology of Mountain Thoughts and Mountain People. "But there is also, of course, a more complex other side of the mountain equation," he says. In this episode, we sit down with longtime climber and writer Geoff Powter to discuss a few of his adventures, as well as the challenges and rewards of chronicling life in the mountains.
41 minutes | Mar 4, 2019
An Enormously Familiar Voice: Chris Kalous
Climber, father and house painter Chris Kalous launched the climbing podcast The Enormocast in 2011. In this episode, Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz sits down with Kalous, a longtime friend, to rehash memories from the glory days and discuss where he sees himself — and podcasts — going in the future.
42 minutes | Mar 1, 2019
The Calling: Barry Blanchard
In 1969, at the age of nine, Barry Blanchard sat on a Greyhound bus as a young woman read to him from the pages of the mountaineering classic, The White Spider. Five decades later, alpinist and mountain guide Barry Blanchard recalls how the call of the mountains transformed his life.
37 minutes | Mar 1, 2019
To Abandon: Claire Carter
“How often do we, as climbers, reach out for abandonment?” Claire Carter asks. “Leave the ground to find a swinging freedom; bitter-cold, bittersweet.” In this episode, we sit down with poet, climber and creative consultant Claire Carter to discuss some of her recent projects, including her efforts to retrace some of the travels of Gwen Moffat, a legendary climber and writer who had become Britain's first female mountain guide in 1953, and which she wrote about for Issue 57 of Alpinist magazine.
50 minutes | Jan 24, 2019
Strange Music: Doug McCarty
In 1972, barely out of high school, Doug McCarty and Brian Leo completed the first winter ascent of the North Face of 12,799-foot Granite Peak—only to endure an icy bivy on the remote summit. In this episode, McCarty reads the story he wrote for Issue 63 of Alpinist magazine, in which he recalls the ghostly "strange music" that helped him survive more than four decades ago.
50 minutes | Dec 31, 2018
Open Heart: Alpinist Digital Editor Derek Franz
From the time he led his dad up the Diamond of Longs Peak at age fifteen, Derek Franz has long been “obsessed with all things climbing.” After graduating college with a journalism degree, Franz has worked as a freelancer while living crag-side and written an award-winning column for the Post Independent. He joined Alpinist as the digital editor in the autumn of 2016. In this episode, Franz talks with associate editor Paula Wright about the highs and lows of chronicling life in the mountains.
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