• Eternal Bliss or Bust ZHO BA! We are walking at last in the land of the lotus, looking for the jewel, or something, anything really, after the ordeal of getting here: the warp journey to Shanghai, then west again to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, and then the twelve-hour trundle on a train painted the green of a placid […]
  • Your Favorite Extreme Athlete is Moonlighting as a Motivational Speaker “THE JOKE IS ‘Hey, I’ve climbed Everest; now I’m a motivational speaker,’” Conrad Anker told me after I observed that there’s been a noticeable uptick in climbers – many of them former dirtbags and non-Everest types — delivering positivity platitudes and business bromides to Fortune 100s and other paying audiences. Anker, an alpinist of some […]
  • The Majesty Polarity IN THE LAST DECADE OF THE LAST CENTURY, the videographer, writer and bon vivant Michael Strassman spied a line on a certain Minaret in the High Sierra, a slab-to-knife-edge buttress so obvious in its stegosaurus-like sweep from snowfield to summit that he double-checked the usual sources to ensure that his efforts would result in a first ascent. […]
  • The Greening of Alex Honnold GO AHEAD: ASK ALEX HONNOLD about his unprecedented solo ascents, and watch how he reflexively flips the toggle switch to autopilot. He’ll rhapsodize about climbing – sure he will – he loves scaling walls — but he’s painfully aware of how these conversations swirl into dialogues about his putative dance with death. In a recent interview on the main stage of the […]
  • Searching for Jensen YES, I KNEW SOMETHING of the great mountaineer Don Jensen; after all, I bore wit­ness to his Sierran legacy with every ram­ble up either fork of the Sierra Nevada’s Big Pine Creek. But I didn’t really know Jensen, nor did but a hand­ful of people. Last sum­mer, while intern­ing at Alpinist Magazine, I set out to discover who he was. By […]
  • Running Talus: Profile of Doug Robinson For the better part of a day I’ve been drifting with Doug Robinson through his life, flitting from the Sierra to the Winds, from the Himalaya to the Eastside. Twilight filters through the windows of his Kirkwood, California vacation cabin and a flurry of snow dusts the window panes. Robinson sits exuding calm, all five feet five inches and 150 pounds of him, supple and lean at 51. He gives me his all with laughing blue-grey eyes, and latches on to every question, smiling at the memories that tak