Pained and Pampered in Chamonix

Story And Photos By Chris Garren In Colorado, I wake every day to a scenic mountain panorama. Still, my jaw dropped when I first saw the Alps in Chamonix. Endless peaks shot up from crevassed glaciers and sunny hills. Mont Blanc was a commanding presence above the valley. A climber’s dreamscape! Drinking questionable amounts of coffee to get the better of my jet lag, I gazed at routes I’d been reading about for years. I was in the heart of the alpine climbing world; the stage for legendary first ascents and home to the best long, moderate routes anywhere. Once a pursuit strictly for the elegantly clad upper class, climbing is now written into the DNA of Chamonix. Gear shops, huts, cable cars — a vast infrastructure supports vertical endeavors….

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Second Ascents: The McNerthney Pillar

Photos and Story by Ben Kunz On July 20th, 2013, Tim Halder, Joe Sambataro and I completed the second ascent of the McNerthney Pillar on the north face of Mount Waddington in British Columbia’s Coast Range. This prodigious rock pillar was climbed by the Northwest’s own McNerthney brothers, Pat and Dan McNerthney, back in 1986. Despite the appeal of this beautiful rock pillar and “providing far and away the most powerful climbing line of this face of Waddington”, it had yet to see a repeat ascent. Climbing a big, steep route like the McNerthney Pillar was a huge undertaking for the three of us. Despite forays into the other Great Ranges (Peru, Alaska, Alps, Himalaya), none of us had climbed such a technical, once-touched line on such a colossal mountain…

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