As the deadline approached for this issue’s cover, we reached out to Jeremy Collins to see if he might have an idea. He recounts: “I quickly doodled something imagined: Trango Towers meets Baffin Island meets Cirque of the Unclimbables. A dream valley. Then I set my tool against the art to show scale and its simple handcrafted approach. And thus the cover was born—fast and light, alpine style.”
Jeremy’s illustrations grace both the cover and this issue’s profile of mythic, sacred and imaginary peaks. Hayden Kennedy writes of an expedition to the Kishtwar Himalaya in India, during which he learns to reassess his priorities as an alpinist. Maya Prabhu presents stories of Indian climbers making fast and light ascents in their own country. Lisa Roderick describes her first season as the manager of Kahiltna Basecamp, with a close-up view of the joy, suffering and risks of climbing in the Alaska Range. The cutting-edge Slovenian alpinist—and ever-provocative thinker—Marko Prezelj asks himself the hard questions about what it means to share photos and stories from private experiences in the hills. In addition, you’ll find a tribute to Cascades soloist Fay Pullen, a new fiction story by the great Jeff Long…and much more.
- A History of Imaginary Mountains
- Behind the histories of exploration lie less-visible tales of rumored summits that prove to be nonexistent, and of physical mountains whose shapes and heights transform according to different legends. John Hessler, Frances Garrett, Meera Baindur, Jerry Auld, Anders Ax, Harish Kapadia, Sylvain Jouty and Hubert Odier share stories of mythic peaks, both real and imagined, charted and uncharted, from around the world. With illustrations by Jeremy Collins and an introduction by Katie Ives.
- Light Before Wisdom
- After a knee injury in 2012, Hayden Kennedy was forced, temporarily, to contemplate his identity with and without climbing. Then a friend's invitation to the east face of Cerro Kishtwar reawakens him to what he truly loves about the mountains.
- Notes from the Frontier
- The word Alpine evokes images of European summits. Maya Prabhu reports on the "HimAlpinists," Indian climbers seeking to balance fast and light styles with the histories of their country's Himalayan peaks.
- Event Horizon
- In a photo essay, the great Slovenian climber Marko Prezelj, known for his distrust of "tasty talking," now asks himself the hard questions about sharing tales and images from private experiences in the hills.
- All In
- Base-camp staff, pilots and rescuers often appear in the margins of stories. Yet in crises, their efforts can make the difference between life and death. Lisa Roderick recalls her first season as manager of Kahiltna Basecamp.
- The Sharp End
- Climbing fast and slow.
- Readers set the record straight and tell us not to fret.
- On Belay
- Most climbers associate Reinhold Messner with the rise of alpine-style ascents in the Himalaya. But he also helped bring hard free climbing to Europe. Christoph Willumeit and Ralf Gantzhorn make a pilgrimage to the Dolomites, searching for memories of the great man's youth. Meanwhile, Chris Van Leuven puts his faith in a finicky copperhead.
- Tool User
- Our digital editor writes of falls and fifi hooks.
- The Climbing Life
- Rick Accomazzo learns to ice climb in 1970s Yosemite with the irrepressible Tobin Sorenson. Ramsey Mathews runs out of water in Red Rock. Michelle Marie Robles Wallace finds a rock with a view. Claire Cameron pieces together lines from Accidents in North American Mountaineering to create a story of her own.
- Full Value
- During the nineteenth century, Jim Bridger was well known for tall tales about the ranges of the American West. Herein, the modern climbing writer Jeff Long retells Bridger's attempt on "Glass Mountain," examining the aspirations and consequences of frontier mythology.
- Local Hero
- At seventy-three, Cascades climber Fay Pullen bushwhacks through dense thickets and climbs isolated peaks—generally alone. Cindy Beavon pays a visit to one of Washington's most prolific soloists.
- Off Belay
- Before his theory of evolution made him famous, Charles Darwin was an enthusiastic, if somewhat picky, mountaineer. Paula Wright considers the significance of his most disappointing ascents.