On the 100th anniversary of America’s National Park Service, Alpinist 53 features a Mountain Profile on Zion National Park, tracing the human history of its great sandstone walls, from tales of indigenous cliff dwellers to modern climbers—including essays and photos that span decades of exploration. Author Ethan Newman speaks with many of the local protagonists and asks: How will the forces of erosion, human impact and climate change shape the landscape a hundred more years in the future?
Other writers venture deep into wild ranges around the globe and within the mind. Born in Taiwan, Szu-ting Yi learned to climb in the US. As she makes a first ascent in the Qionglai Mountains of China, she examines the intersection of cultures that formed her vision of climbing. Award-winning author Mark Jenkins joins a party of mountain writers to climb in Wyoming’s Cloud Peak Wilderness—and to discuss their literary craft. Graham Zimmerman goes on a pilgrimage to Pakistan's Changi Tower and the Southwest Ridge of K6. Lise Billon, Jérôme Sullivan, Diego Simari and Antoine Moineville set sail for the remote Southern Patagonian Icefield, encountering mountains so surreal they seem almost imaginary. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa solos a new route on the peak that glimmers through the window of his childhood home—the fluted west face of Nepal’s Khang Tagri.
With more than 100 pages of climbing imagery and lore, Alpinist 53 explores some of the most exciting adventures, stories and ideas of our mountain world.
- Mountain Profile: Zion National Park
- In 1904 the artist Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh wrote of the landscape that became Zion National Park: "Never before has such a naked mountain of rock entered into our minds!... There is almost nothing to compare to it. Niagara has the beauty of energy; the Grand Canyon, of immensity; the Yellowstone, of singularity; the Yosemite, of altitude; the ocean, of power; this great temple, of eternity." Recalling prehistoric dunes and vanished seas, Zion appears at once infinite and ever-eroding. Ethan Newman recounts scenes from the human history, from tales of indigenous cliff dwellers to modern climbers. Jeff Mayhew, Amanda Tarr Forrest, Bryan Bird and Cameron M. Burns share some of their explorations of the vast sandstone walls.
- Through the Field
- Ever since he started climbing, Graham Zimmerman imagined alpinism as a form of pilgrimage. When he gets a chance to visit the Karakoram Range with Steve Swenson, Scott Bennett and Hajji Ghulam Rasool, he realizes the goal might be different than he'd thought.
- A Quartet for Silent Lands
- A team of French and Argentinean alpinists—Lise Billon, Antoine Moineville, Diego Simari and Jérôme Sullivan—journey to the western edge of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. Climbing a new route on Cerro Riso Patrón, they encounter a realm so vast and unfamiliar they need all four of their imaginations to tell even part of the tale.
- The Sharp End
- During the Victorian Age, an intrepid group of women helped pioneer winter mountaineering—only to have their contributions largely vanish from mainstream history.
- In which a reader, asking for replacement copy of Alpinist 43, shares a grim tale of how the original was lost.
- On Belay
- Born in Taiwan, Szu-ting Yi first learned to climb in the States. Years later, establishing routes in the Qionglai Mountains, she explores the intersections of cultures that formed her vision of alpinism. Meanwhile, Derek Franz recounts the tricks behind an Indian Creek classic, and Andy Kirkpatrick finds a novel use for a hefty book.
- Tool User
- Ross Taylor, studying the evolution of footwear, present a sticky topic.
- The Climbing Life
- Douglas Pope tries to make it work. Claire J. Carter finds solid ground. Bree Loewen goes on a rescue. Rachel Fixsen hears snakes in the wall.
- Full Value
- Hoping to make Nepali alpinists more visible— and to boost a struggling local economy— Mingma Gyalje Sherpa decides to solo a peak above his village in the Rolwaling Himal.
- Mark Jenkins recounts a tale of three climbing writers discussing their craft while making probable first ascents in Wyoming's Cloud Peak Wilderness.
- Off Belay
- Pat Ament pays tribute to Mort Hempel (1943–2015), bard of the Golden Age.