Alpinist Magazine Issue 37 - Winter 2011-12

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Mountain Profile: K2, Part I (1856–1954)
In recent years, the "Everestification" of K2 (8611m) has brought increas- ing quantities of fixed rope, oxygen bottles and quasi-guided expeditions to the world's second highest mountain. Yet despite the spread of com- mercialism, this Karakoram giant remains among the most hazardous of the 8000-meter peaks. During the early days of K2's climbing history, its sustained steepness, objective hazards and violent storms gave it the allure (and the menace) of an almost metaphysical challenge. Greg Child once called it "the geologic personification of angst." Perhaps as a result, K2 provided the setting for so many of the classic tales that helped define the desires, ideals and fears of our community. In Part I of our two-part series, Steve Swenson returns to the lore of past centuries to rediscover the time- less human values beyond the stylistic debates. Jules Jacot-Guillarmod, Bob Craig and Luca Signorelli offer their own interpretations of what it has meant—and still means—to climb on the "mountaineer's mountain."
Muscular Thoughts
After years of living and composing "at the edge" of crags and high peaks, the award-winning British poet Mark Goodwin concludes that we write, read and climb for the same reason: to remain alive.
Fifty-Fifty: Tales from a Climber's Life
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakh mountaineer Denis Urubko has climbed 8000-meter peaks without oxygen, in alpine style and by new routes. His quest for the meaning of alpinism is just as intense.
While photographing images of rhododendron valleys, herders' huts, brittle icefalls and an (accidently) illicit ascent in Sichuan, China, Andrew Burr realizes that the deepest artistic creations can sometimes result from the crossing of both permitted and forbidden boundaries.


The Sharp End
The Golden Ages of the Now.
On Belay
For years, Alan Cattabriga has roamed the White Mountains of New Hampshire, exploring the spaces between the contour lines of maps and creating long, arabesque-like enchainments of classic ice routes. Herein, a tale from one of the East Coast's most imaginative wanderers.
Tool Users
Our associate editor narrates the History of the Rope, Part II.
The Climbing Life
James Lucas trails ghosts, magic and science at Index; Steven Jervis goes back to the not-so-distant future of climbing; Tad Welch mourns imper- manence in Tibet; and David Stevenson solves a riddle at Devils Tower.
Escape Route
Long before flashy videos and competitions, bouldering served as train- ing for alpinism. It was also a kind of moving mediation in the natural world. Peter Beal spends a season in the heart of Chaos Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, seeking to recapture the Zen-like origins of the pursuit and to experience the soul of climbing in its most "earthbound" form.
Full Value
In 1970 and 1971, Peter Haan manages to epic twice on the same climb with the same partner. In the process of trying to stay alive, he finds ample time to confront Being and Nothingness in Yosemite.
Off Belay
On a gusty day amid the spires of Patagonia, Geoffrey Johnson photographs the alchemy of wilderness and wet.

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