In 1942 two teenagers set out on one of the boldest adventures of all time: In a sea-to-summit push, they would attempt to climb Mount Waddington, a formidable and remote mountain widely considered the most difficult in North America. Unsupported and cut off from any outside contact, Fred and Helmy Beckey pulled off a masterstroke. Here, for the first time, American mountaineering legend Fred Beckey tells the story.
Stranded high on Nanga Parbat after an extremely rare winter ascent, Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz were beyond help. Even if a rescue team could be found, time would almost certainly run out before they could reach the stranded climbers. Even if the rescuers did get there in time, the question remained: How would they get two incapacitated climbers off an 8,000-meter peak in winter?
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A Rock and Ice editor travels to Northern Norway for the Arctic Ice Festival and discovers a veritable ice climbing heaven.
Royal Robbins hardly needs an introduction. Ever the visionary, he was the first to climb Half Dome’s Northwest Face and the second to top out on El Cap. Basic Rockcraft and Advanced Rockcraft were two of his books that, quite literally, inspired generations of climbers. “Tis- sa-ack,” first published in Ascent in 1970 (the route was completed in 1969), takes the form of a bantering dialogue between Robbins, some friends, and his eventual partner, Don Peterson, on the first ascent of Half Dome’s “steep” side. Don’t be fooled, however—Robbins wrote the whole thing, imagining what his partners must have thought of him. This is a must-read, filled with snarky comments about being on belay duty for six hours, complaints about not bringing the right pins, and passive-aggressive comments born of frayed nerves. In this essay, you can get a personal glimpse of how Robbins viewed others, the act of climbing, and how he thought others viewed him. For these reasons, and so much more, “Tis-sa-ack” the story is as classic as the climb.
In winter 1977 a Lockheed Lodestar with over two tons of high-grade marijuana in its hold crashed in Lower Merced Pass Lake in Tuolumne. Alerted by a friendly park ranger, Yosemite’s Camp 4 emptied practically overnight as broke-as-a-joke climbers hiked 18 miles to the lake to chop through two feet of ice and recover the score of a lifetime. Some estimates place the value of the weed as high as $600,000. But the story didn’t end there. No one knew who had owned the “Lodestar Lightning,” or whether they’d want it back—Narcos weren’t known for their generosity. In “Angels of Light,” published in Ascent in 1984, Jeff Long wove fact with fiction to produce one of the richest pieces of climbing writing ever put down. Thirty-three years later the plane crash and its aftermath are one of climbing’s greatest and most-repeated campfire tales.