Climbing

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At only 24, Seattle's Colin Haley has turned heads around the world with career-making alpine climbs, including an unprecedented team traverse of Patagonia's torre massif. He's driven to be the best-risky business in an era when the cutting edge leaves no margin for error.

Tommy Caldwell needed a challenge, so he decided to hoist his clanking gear rack and free-climb one of Yosemite's hardest routes—a punishing 5.14 called Magic Mushroom—in 24 hours or less. Matt Samet was there from start to finish to watch the planning, training, and performance of a superhuman athlete at the top of his game.

I’m attempting to summit Aconcagua, over 22,000 feet and known to be very cold and windy. Which ccorder can I safely use at this altitude? Brendan Chicago, Illinois

Climbing's new "it" girl.

Is the Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero SL Parka good for Denali? Eduard Burleson, Texas

The key to staying warm and stuck to the ice? The right stuff.

I climbed Rainier in June of 2008 and hated the plastic boots. I’m returning to Rainier next summer and looking for a good pair of non-plastic boots that take crampons. What do you suggest? Dayton Baltimore, Maryland

This month's 560–page Fallen Giants, by professors Maurice Isserman and Stewart Weaver, is the most exhaustive narrative history of Himalayan climbing to date. It's also the subject of this month's quiz. Pencils out—begin!

A degenerative nerve disease is destroying the body of Jeff Lowe, one of climbing's greatest athletes and innovators. He's seen hard times before, on mountains and in life. But how do you keep going when there's no way up?

Over the winter, in Yosemite Valley, the 28-year-old superclimber from Davis, California, notched the country's hardest trad climb, meaning she used nuts and camming devices only to catch her falls. It took Rodden 40 days and more than 80 attempts to scale Meltdown, a 70-foot, overhanging, finger-width crack rated 5.14.

I’m climbing Kilimanjaro this summer. Does it make sense to use a silk liner on the inside of my sleeping bag and a vapor barrier liner on the outside of the bag? Lauren Edmonton, Alberta

I have a pair of Montrail ICE 9 insulated boots that I used on Aconcagua with insulated gaiters. I'd like to take them to Denali with a full overboot. The guide outfit, however, recommends double boots only. Should I go ahead with my set-up? Dean Bittern Lake, Alberta

To set up your own anchor for a climbing top rope (or slackline, or car stuck in a ditch), all you need is a 20-foot piece of webbing, a carabiner, and a tree.

June 5–8, bouldering’s World Cup returns to the U.S. for the first time in two decades, at the Teva Mountain Games, in Vail, Colorado. And Chris Sharma, who’s been living in Spain of late, comes with it. The 27-year-old Californian is one of the world’s strongest technical climbers but has…

I'm climbing in the Cordillera Real of Bolivia this May, and I know I need to have a down jacket. I hear it can get really cold there. What type of down jacket would you recommend? Xavier Charlotte, North Carolina

I'm planning a summer ascent of Mount Shasta and want to know what you recommend for a backpack and sleeping bag. Is a zero-degree bag warm enough? I lean toward being a cold sleeper and prefer synthetic. I was told by the guide service to have a 4,500-cubic-inch pack. But I’m a petite woman, so isn't that a bit large? Julie Aliso Viejo, California

I about to take on a few mountaineering trips involving Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, and some of the Colorado 14ers. What is your recommendation for decent pants that are waterproof and breathable and will hold up to wearing a harness for an extended period of time? E.J. Dallas, Texas

I'm attending a Himalayan Mountaineering Course in Nepal next month, and ski goggles are recommended on the gear list. I’ve always relied on my Julbo sunglasses. What are the merits of goggles, and can you recommend a type? Paul Perth, Western Australia

After a Pakistani military helicopter plucked stranded Slovenian super-alpinist Tomaz Humar from Nanga Parbat in 2005, detractors lambasted him for milking the rescue as a reality drama to draw millions of visitors to his Web site. But in November, Humar, 38, returned to the Himalayas and nabbed an astounding solo…

THE IDEA: Make one of the world's greatest Everest guides face his fear of heights. THE PLAN: Send him 3,000 feet up El Capitan with Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Ivo Ninov. THE RESULT: Panic attacks, cold sweats, and one order of Depends.

Video, podcast, and photo gallery

When Pete Absolon, the Rocky Mountain director of NOLS, set out for a climb in Wyoming's Wind River Range, life couldn't have been better. A deadly mistake by another man ended it all in an instant—and started a nightmare that's never going to stop.

This past summer, American climbers Cedar Wright, 32, and Renan Ozturk, 27, combined two ambitious expeditions on two continents into a novel summerlong quest they dubbed Alaskastan ’07. Starting in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge, near McKinley, on June 17, they completed four first ascents of granite big walls in 13 days.

Can you recommend a good mountaineering boot for women (specifically for those of us with small, like size five, feet)? I have seen debates about plastic boots and double boots. What will the guru say? Jing Boston, Massachusetts

I’m climbing Mount Washington for the first time this winter. I have The North Face’s Mountain Light Jacket and Denali Jacket. Do I need a down jacket too? Dan Wilmington, Vermont

You were told that Everest base camp is an insult to the true spirit of mountaineering. (Harrumph.) But why weren't you told about the excellent bars, the butter people, and that friendly Playboy bunny from Poland? The author spends a month at the world's most exclusive party town.

I’m new to climbing and have been to several stores both local and online looking for gear. I concerned with safety and see all different brands (SMC, Petzl, Omega), shapes, materials, and sizes of carabiners. Which one is best? Don Bellingh, Washington

Out of Bounds columnist Eric Hansen found out firsthand what it takes to be a Himalayan porter in the June feature story, "Dead Weight." Here, listen to Hansen read his story and see a gallery of his photos from the trip.

I’m climbing Denali via the Muldrow Glacier in May 2008, and I’d like to start breaking in some boots (and my feet). Unfortunately, I’m a size 14 and having trouble finding double-plastic boots large enough. Any chance that my old (c. 1982), but well cared for, double-leather boots would be adequate? Glen Ann Arbor, Michigan

I seem to remember climbing shoes for kids being available years ago, but now that I actually have a kid I can't find them. Does anyone still make climbing shoes for children? J Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

What's the best alpine climbing pack out there for multi-day trips, carrying no more than 50 lbs? I'd like it to have good back ventilation and do double-duty: light-weight backpacking trips up to a week and winter mountaineering. Anything meet this criteria? Joseph Torrance, California

Can a reluctant climber avoid his fate? In an exclusive excerpt from his new book, The Eiger Obsession, John Harlin III faces his legacy—and the mountain that killed his Father.

The Alps Trailer: When director Stephen Judson, 61, decided to follow John Harlin III up the Eiger for the stunning new Imax film The Alps (opening in March), he enlisted the best in alpine filmmaking, putting Farther Than the Eye Can See…

Which sturdy but lightweight boots are suitable for summer ascents of mountains such as Rainier and Hood? Tim Chardon, Ohio

The loss of a climbing party last winter raised a mountain of questions. Namely: What was all the fuss about?

I'm just starting to get into gym and rock climbing. Could you recommend a pair of all-purpose shoes and a harness that would serve me well in the gym and outside? Jesse Indianapolis, Indiana

I’m climbing Aconcagua this December and need a warm parka. It seems I have a prejudice against down, because I’m drawn to synthetics such as the Mountain Hardwear Voodoo Belay and the Patagonia DAS parkas. Do you have a preference? I keep coming back to you because no one has reached your level of gear consciousness. Stan El Dorado Hills, California

Most people suggest plastic boots for winter mountaineering, and I was wondering if this is an absolute, considering new materials for non-plastics. Also, I'm typically hard to fit (narrow heel). Your opinion? And any suggested boots? Brian Pequannock, New Jersey

No glove sponsorship? No problem, says ice-climbing guide MARK MILLER, who reveals how he keeps his hands warm for less.

I’ve done a small amount of mountaineering and have been trained on how to use an ice axe. But now I’m getting more into the sport and would like to buy my own equipment. How do I pick out an ice axe?

What type and size backpack do you recommend for climbing Mount Rainier? Dan Ann Arbor, Michigan

I’d like to start doing some mountaineering and need to buy crampons. I have a great, broken-in pair of REI Spirit II GTX boots. How can I tell if my boots are crampon compatible? And if they are, which ones should I get? David Dallas, Texas

In adventure and in life, Mike was my best friend—my stronger, wiser, wilder half. And in the end, when the last climb was over, that's all that really mattered.

No Shortcuts to the Top No Shortcuts to the Top No Shortcuts to the TopThere Is No Me Without You There Is No Me Without You Ed Viesturs, with David Roberts (Broadway, $24) WHEN SEATTLE mountaineer Ed Viesturs topped out on 26,545-foot…

No other alpinist in America has knocked off as many coveted ascents—or picked as many fights—as Steve House. But after finding a new climbing partner and conquering one of the most daunting routes in decades, is the world's most outspoken mountaineer finally ready to make nice?

The disappearance of two of North America's best alpinists left a grave question: What happens when the only way out is up?

We catch up with Michael Brown on his latest film, Light of the Himalaya

Why climb America's most spectacular—and controversial—natural landmark? For the same reason you shouldn't.

Since May 7th, we at Patagonia have had much discussion and debate about where the company stands on Dean’s controversial climb. Historically, we have always stood by our Ambassadors and their actions. Our Ambassadors are a part of Patagonia’s close-knit family, and we trust them to act in ways that…

Steph Davis knows the downside of being one of the world’s best women climbers: like living out of a car for seven years and having your mom suggest (frequently) that you’re out of your mind. The upside? Yosemite. The Andes. And a life in which every day is a thrilling vertical grab.

When a hallowed rock formation falls under the eye of an elite daredevil climber, anything can happen. Tim Neville ferrets out the real story behind Dean Potter's big day in Arches National Park.

I've been picking off the summits in Outside magazine's "Mountaineering 101" and now planning the East Face of Whitney. I have several pairs of climbing shoes and hiking boots, but none of them is a good all-around shoe for an ascent and descent via the loose rocks of the couloir of the mountaineers' route. Is there an approach shoe that you would recommend? I have a wide foot and can comfortably climb mid 5.10. Eric Los Angeles, California

What would you do after you'd been trapped in the wilderness and forced to cut off your own arm? You probably wouldn't try to become the first person to climb all 59 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks in winter—and alone.

Is the chalk-bag crowd ready to go upscale? New York City bouldering pioneer Ivan Greene thinks so, and he wants to lead the way.

Naysayers claim the age of adventure is over. On an unclimbed peak in Tibet, our man declares that it has just begun.

North America’s largest ice-climbing festival, the Festiglace du Quebec will take place February 17 to 19.

WHEN AMERICAN CLIMBER Greg Mortenson stumbled into the Pakistani village of Korphe in 1993—lost, starving, and separated from his expedition mates after an unsuccessful attempt to summit K2—he had no idea that the three days he’d spend recuperating there would change his life forever. To thank the locals who nursed…

For Outside Hard Way columnist Mark Jenkins, a recent trip to Tibet was a window into the future of adventure

Name: INES PAPERT Gig: ICE CLIMBER Height: 5’6″ Weight: 123 Age: 31 WHEN ICE CLIMBER INES PARERT won the women’s division at Colorado’s Ouray Ice Festival last year, the 31-year-old German scampered up the 165-foot wall so fast, she beat the winner of the men’s event, held on the same…

Last summer, the headless corpse of Reinhold Messner's brother Günther emerged out of the snowmelt on Pakistan's Nanga Parbat. After 35 years of nasty arguments and accusations, would the discovery finally reveal who was to blame for his death and solve one of mountaineering's greatest mysteries?

In May, 2005, Ed Viesturs became the first American to summit all of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks. Here, read about his epic quest and learn more about the man himself.

Name: DANIELLE FISHER Danielle Fisher BASE CAMP: Fisher in her parents’ backyard in Bow, Washington Home: Bow, Washington Gig: Mountaineer Height: 5’7″ Weight: 130 Age: 20 IN JUNE, FISHER became the youngest American to stand atop Mount Everest—and the youngest person ever to complete the Seven Summits, knocking…

It's time for a radical reform of high-altitude mountaineering�and a fresh debate over what it means to climb right

Pioneering climber, explorer, and mapmaker Bradford Washburn has shot some of the most epic mountain photography of all time�much of which has never seen the light of day. Kurt Markus delves into a cache of unforgettable images and reports on the long, full life of an alpine icon.

“Never say never, but I have no desire to climb over 8,000 meters again,” says mountaineering superstar Ed Viesturs. Well, you can’t blame him. Over the past 16 years, Steady Eddie has spent an estimated 25 days above 8K (26,240 feet) en route to becoming the first American to climb…

I'm headed out to do some big-wall climbs in Yosemite this summer. I was wondering if you could recommend a sturdy shoe that will suffice on my trad routes out here in the Northeast, but hold its own on a big-wall climb out West? I'd rather sink my loot into protection than different shoes for all occasions. Con Boston, Massachusetts

Chris Sharma, the 24-year-old monkey boy who in 2001 introduced the world to 5.15 climbing (the sport’s hardest grade), recently cobbled together a new boulder problem, across the roof of an Ozarks cave, that some say is one of the hardest lines ever completed. While roped climbers strive for endurance…

What are the best parka and boots for Aconcagua? Eugenia Sunnyvale, California

THIS SUMMER, CLIMBERS Jared Ogden, 33, and Ryan Nelson, 25, hope to complete a new route up the 3,000-foot east face of Alaska’s Mount Barrille. Although the Durango, Colorado, residents are expecting only dry rock, they’re packing ice axes to “dry-tool” over any mirror-smooth granite pitches. Translation: They’ll use the…

Four young climbers hit the road in search of big rock, girl power, and a heavenly interlude of physical bliss

Footloose Scots will tell you there's no such thing as trespassing in the Highlands. And no one is more passionate about possessing these craggy, heather-painted mountains than the "compleaters" who summit the Munros—all 284 of them.

Read “Babes on Belay” in the April issue of Outside, including an exclusive Exposure photo gallery of cover girl Sara Carlson, then look through the lens of featured North Conway, New Hampshire-climber Anne Skidmore in our exclusive online photo gallery. Here, see Skidmore, Sheyna Button, Sarah Garlick, Janet Bergman,…

I plan to carry an ice ax on my Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) trek through the Sierras this summer. Where can I find a tutorial or other guidance on the proper use of the ax? Robert Tehachapi, California

Flush with tech-boom cash and answering to no one, 'Alpinist' chronicles the exploits of a loosely aligned group of climbers known as the Brotherhood, who devote themselves to difficult routes, minimal gear, and big-time pain and suffering. Are these guys just a holier-than-thou elite—or the salvation of mountaineering?

Twice a year, we take three top athletes, compare their training programs, and tell you who’s the most all-around fit. For 2005’s cold-weather edition, we studied the regimens of mogul skier Toby Dawson, 26, pro basketball player Mike Dunleavy, 24, and ice climber Will Gadd, 37. Our judge is Werner…

How do you go native on an island made of ice? Scale glaciers, strip down, and steam it off.

There's something about New Zealand—and it's not just the soaring mountains, the red-hot culture, or the world-class Kiwi wines. STEPHANIE PEARSON goes in search of the adventure gene that inspires four million enlightened souls and makes NZ's islands a heaven for travelers.

Over four days this past May, 26-year-old Estes Park, Colorado–based climber Tommy Caldwell completed what is arguably the greatest big-wall climb in history. Using only his hands and feet, he made a first free ascent—no pulling up on mechanical aids allowed—of the Dihedral Wall, an obscure route on the west…

I going to climb Mount Rainier and was curious if I should rent climbing boots or buy my own. What's your experience with rental boots? Ken Vernon Hills, Illinois