Category Archives: International

A Life Ascending – Simply Stunning

I’ve been lucky enough to climb with guides both as a client and as a friend.  I’ve shared a jetboil’d meal while learning about glaciers as a student and I’ve shared a flask of whiskey and recounted delicate traverses as a partner.  But after my few days with a guide I go back to my home and they continue life in the mountains.  It is easy to forget what is my escape from “life” is their existence.

A Life Ascending is not a film about a guide or a movie about ski mountaineering.  It is not an exhilarating adventure that makes your palms sweat at the thought of taking that line.  No, A Life Ascending brilliantly and subtlety shows a way of life in the mountains once the allure of the adventure wears off.

The story of Ruedi Beglinger and his family goes beyond the cliche’d eat, sleep and breath mountains.  Their story is one of a tight knit extended family that does all the normal things but with the backdrop of a remote, helicopter access only chalet.  The responsibilities that come with their school are immense but my impression is that they could nothing else and still be the people they were meant to be.  It is their vocation in the deepest sense of the word.

It is easy to show pretty pictures of the breath taking beauty of remote mountains.  It is much harder to share the religious nature of the them.  The cinematography was exquisite and I felt the awe of being in an immense temple dedicated to a living idea.

I would highly recommend this film.

A Life Ascending by Ptarmigan Films


Opening New Routes in Peru

artesonraju3After the written word the internet may be the greatest communication tool ever invented. It has made it possible to drop a line to a complete stranger halfway across the world as easy as if you were asking your buddy to pass you a beer.

I just got an email from Sophie Denis, a French climber, telling me about the new routes her and her partner Beto Pinto were putting up in Peru. In a recent seven day trip Sophie and Beto put up three new routes in the Central Range of Peru. They put up the North Face of Suiricocha (5,495m), West Face of Manon Dos (5,500m), and the West Face of Vicunita (5,538m).  That’s a pretty good week in my opinion.

If you’re feeling a bit uninspired, check out her blog and get a shot of motivation.

New Bolts on Everest’s Yellow Band

While there will be some controversy about bolts being put on Everest, I think that often in the bolt vs trad argument people forget that the entire point of pro is to protect the climber and cams, nuts, pitons, ice screws and bolts are all part of a climber’s arsenal to safely get up a mountain.  I’m from North Carolina where a strong trad ethic prevails but if bolts are required to make a route safe then they should be put up in a respectful manner.  From what I have read the Yellow Band is not protectable by sane means and probably should have had been bolted many seasons ago.

I think Kenton Cool sums it up well below.

The band is made up of limestone, marble and calc-silicate and is very compact with just a few horizontal striations that offer almost zero options for anchoring fixed ropes. In the past, rope has been tied to existing old rope frozen in place with little or no idea what is securing the rope to the mountain.

It would be easy for the arm chair climber to say that if someone who attempts to climb Everest is not capable of climbing the Yellow Band without fixed rope then they shouldn’t be there in the first place, but then this is an argument all about commercialism rather than about placing some bolts…. In my mind the fixing of a number of bolts at this spot isn’t “murdering the impossible” but a sensible act that will without a doubt save lives of Sherpas, Western climbers and guides alike. -Kenton Cool Courtesy UK Climbing News