Cover: Of her portrait of Tom Hornbein in 2011, photographer Claudia Camila López says: “It is said don't meet your hero, much less let him trick you into trying on his Everest red jacket; if you must, don't press said jacket against your face corroborating the indelible and eternally defining mountaineering smell. No regrets. I am, forever, under the spell of Señor Tom!” [Photo] Claudia Camila López
- What's Past Is Prologue
- On May 22, 1963, Tom Hornbein and Willi Unsoeld watched the sunset from the top of Chomolungma (Everest), having completed the first ascent of the West Ridge. In the aftermath, Unsoeld said, "The peculiar thing about Mt. Everest is that once you've climbed it, you're never allowed to forget it. It hangs around your neck like a great leaden albatross." Nearly six decades later, mountaineering historian Maurice Isserman interviews Hornbein to learn more about the rest of his story—the youthful adventures that led Hornbein to the world's highest peak and the meanings that he still seeks, at age ninety, in the mountains today.
- Lines That Lead Easily
- Much of climbing photography focuses on cutting-edge difficulty. Herein, Irene Yee celebrates the unique beauty of easy and moderate routes— from the varied textures of the rock to the experience of immersion in the landscape as a whole.
- Litigating the Mountains?
- In the autumn of 2019, after a guide said that a looming serac made an ascent of Chomolungma too dangerous that season, one of his clients filed a lawsuit. Paula LaRochelle explores the complex history of people's attempts to mix courtrooms and the wild.
- Sharp End
- The end of one beginning.
- Our readers share thoughts on writing as therapy, the naming of Mt. Misery, and the logic of an ice climb. Alpinist offers an apology.
- Doug Scott (1941–2020), remembered.
- On Belay
- As Uisdean Hawthorn climbs a new route on the Emperor Face of Yexyexéscen (Mt. Robson), he contemplates the uncertainty of ever knowing what the right choices are.
- Tool User
- Rachel S. Gross nestles into the history of the sleeping bag.
- The Climbing Life
- Suzana EL Massri reexamines her dreams during years of conflict and pandemic. James Gurian asks: What would Heraclitus say? Lim Joel and his friends train for Himalayan peaks in their tropical Singapore home. Andrew Allport confronts questions of risk, responsibility and family.
- Full Value
- Jan Redford recalls a nearly catastrophic teenage summer when she fell in love with her first fellow climber—and experienced her first epic.
- Babsi Vigl searches for alternative forms of alpine storytelling.
- Local Hero
- Anaheed Saatchi celebrates the outdoor refuges of Chevon Powell.
- Off Belay
- Tami Knight explores a puzzling alpine world.