Alpinist Magazine Issue 86 | Summer 2024

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Cover: Jim Donini assesses a route on Mt. Barrill in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge. [Photo] Greg Crouch


A Tiny Portion of Infinite Time
Christophe Ogier writes about how a special partnership with Jérôme Sullivan and Victor Saucède enabled them to complete the first ascent of Pumari Chhish East (ca. 6850m) in Pakistan, in June 2022. Their climb was recognized with a Piolet d’Or in 2023, a moment that marked a point of change in their lives. In this story, Ogier reflects on the experiences and relationships that have come to matter more to him than any climb.
Donini Climbs into Television
Geoff Powter presents an unpublished chapter from his new biography about the fabled American alpinist Jim Donini. While living in Yosemite Valley in 1975, Donini seized the opportunity to star in a beer commercial with his friends. In 1977, he received another opportunity to work in showbiz, this time to film a climb in the Venezuelan jungle for ABC’s The American Sportsman series. Rubber snakes, fake conflicts and real starvation ensued.
One Leg to Climb On
After losing her right leg in an accident as a teenager, Sarah Doherty went on to become the first amputee to stand atop Denali in 1985. Instead of using a prosthetic leg, she relied on crutches that she helped design. With her husband Kerith Perreur-Lloyd, she eventually founded the company SideStix, which continues today after her death in 2023. Herein, Holly Yu Tung Chen shares memories of Doherty—from friends, family and Doherty’s own journals.
Lines of Obsession
Alex Buisse had no inkling of the project that would lead to his award-winning book Mont Blanc Lines when he took a chance with his cash reserves and chartered a tiny airplane to take landscape photos in 2020. He captured angles of the Grandes Jorasses and les Droites that he had never seen before, and he began to draw the lines of routes he knew, still unaware of what was to come. An obsession was born. This photo essay gives a glimpse into his work.




Sharp End
Derek Franz ponders the future and finds hope.
Escape Route
Christian Kiefer and Abbey Collins share reading recommendations. Hannah Mitchell interviews Fay Manners. Plus, Hannah Provost explores how horses avoided postholing, historically.
Tool Users
Sarah Pickman digs into the evolution of dried food.
The Climbing Life
James Price reflects on the cost of turning around too late. Spencer Gray once got spooked by a bat hidden in a crack; he shares tales of the animals he’s encountered on climbs. And Shauna Potocky remembers a lost loved one through birdsong.
Anna Saroldi delves into the history of Nea Morin and Janet Adam Smith—climbers, translators and friends—whose stories remind her of a friendship of her own.
Local Hero
Holly Yu Tung Chen celebrates the bravery and good-natured humor of Chomolungma guide Ang Tshering Lama.
Off Belay
Pat Ament remembers the influential climber and filmmaker David Breashears.

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