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Climbing



Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Mammut Alpine Rider Helmet

A helmet to handle both warm and cold weather conditions.

Editors' Choice Snow Award 2013: Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

A timeless axe that picks into ice with ease.

Gear Review: Grivel 360 Ice Screw

Longer, yet still manageable, screws to give you a mechanical advantage.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Aspect Harness

A cushiony, comfortable harness without the added bulk.

Gear Review: Singing Rock Kappa Helmet

A well-ventilated, comfortable design for all skull sizes.

Rent or Own? Making Gear Choices

Don't (always) shell out for specialty gear.

Gear Guide 2013: Climbing Gear

Crag-tested picks from the editors of Climbing magazine

Gear Review: Stonelick BLU Crashpad

Don't break the bank or yourself with this affordable crashpad from Stonelick.

Gear Review: BlueWater Flash Harness

This adjustable, comfortable harness from BlueWater is a bargain to share with the whole family.

Gear Review: Scarpa Force X Rock Climbing Shoe

Stay comfortable without sacrificing performance with the Scarpa Force X Rock Shoe.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Equipment Vapor Helmet

Stay protected without being weighed down wearing this ultralight helmet from Black Diamond Equipment.

Gear Review: Mammut 10.0 Sensor Rope

Feel secure with this Mammut rope with built-in safety features.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Dome Beanie

A slim, 100-percent polyester skull cap.

Gear Review: Gregory Alpinisto 50 Backpack

Made for mountaineers who need overnight capacity or who carry huge day loads

Reel Deal: Charting Big-Wall Movie Scenes

Hollywood climbing: Survivable or surreal?

Gear Guide 2012: Climbing Equipment

A lightweight, crag-tested collection for new climbers

Gear Guide 2012: Scarpa Reflex Climbing Shoes

A shoe that easily transitions from gym to sport climbing to bouldering to multipitch routes.

Gear Guide 2012: Mammut El Cap Helmet

A super safe helmet that you forget you're wearing

Gear Guide 2012: Trango Smooth Quickdraws Carabiner

Big and beefy carabiners

Gear Guide 2012: Metolius Climbing Safe Tech Comp Harness

A harness that's great for both beginners and experts

Gear Guide 2012: Petzl Xion 10.1 Climbing Rope

Deemed a 'go-to workhorse rope' by the editors of Climbing Magazine

Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Mammut Safety Harness and Arc'teryx Life Shell Jacket

Plus, winter boots from Teva that fold as small as regular shoes!

Outdoor Retailer Roundup: Climbing Gear

Shoes that stick, rope worth investing in, and a Grigri 2 overhaul.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Easy Upgrades

Kick it up a notch with these quick fixes.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Climb to Heart-Pumping Heights

Scramble a class 3 route and claim your own private peak.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.

Editors' Picks with Climbing Gear Editor Julie Ellison

Climbing's gear editor weighs in on her favorite harness and ice axe.

Ski Strong: Going Up

Master the art of backcountry climbing and skinning.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Ice Gear

We teamed up with sister publication Climbing to bring you the best ice climbing gear.

Gear Review: Beal Tiger 10mm Climbing Rope

A 10mm rope that's not too stiff and not too flexible with a Golden Dry treatment for added durability and water resistance.

Gear Review: Austri Alpin SI-KO FX Ice Climbing Screw

These screws cost half as much as comparable models but still grind into bulletproof ice with ease.

Gear Review: Grivel Quantum Tech Ice Climbing Tool for Women

A tool that's light and easy to swing and fits a woman's hand.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons

These stainless steel crampons are perfect for all your winter climbing needs.

Gear Review: Cassin X-All Mountain Ice Climbing Tool

A all-mountain tool that truly lives up to its name.

Gear Review: Mammut Togir/Togira Light Climbing Harness

Climbing Magazine's favorite alpine harness of 2011.

Gear Review: Scarpa Mt. Blanc GTX Boot

The ultimate all-mountain boot

Gear Review: Petzl Crevasse Rescue Kit



Gear Review: CAMP XLC Crampons

The all-aluminum XLC is about half the weight of comparable steel spikes

Gear Review: Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

A great mountaineering helmet that's breathable and easy to adjust

Gear Review: Black Diamond Half Dome



Gear Review: Metolius FS Mini Long Draw Quickdraws

For winding mountain routes these quickdraws with included mini carabiners are a huge help

Gear Review: Mammut Smart Alpine Belay Device

Say goodbye to buying different belay devices for every type of climbing—the Smart Alpine does it all.

Gear Review: Grivel G1 Ice Axe

Light enough to carry comfortably, hefty enough to be a lifesaver.

Gear School: Helmets

The latest in skull science and safety

Ultimate Peak Planner

BACKPACKER and CLIMBING have teamed up to bring you a one-stop resource for scaling the best treks and technical climbs in the country.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Contact Crampons

Stainless steel crampons that bite into ice and repel slushy buildup.

Gear Review: Mammut Smart Alpine Belay Device

A versatile belay device that works with single, double, and some twin ropes. It also offers active braking support.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Mountaineering Gear

Head high with an axe, crampons, and more.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Backpacks

Carry in comfort, from dayhikes to hut trips.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardware Trad Pack

A pack built for climbers.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Couloir Harness

Stay comfortable and safe with this easy on and off harness.

Gear Review: Camp X-Lite Axe

A great lightweight axe for mountaineering.

Gear Review: Edelweiss Discover 8mm x 30m Rope

Keep your pack light with this twin rope.

Local Hikes: Moab, UT

The best hikes near Moab, Utah.

Gear Review: Petzl Meteor III Helmet

Helmets are like any good protection; you'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

The Peak: Mt. Mitchell

Enjoy solitude and fixed-rope scrambling on the East's highest mountain.

New Life List: Summit a Himalayan Peak

The roof of the world is open to everyone, and your personal Mt. Everest is waiting.

New Life List: Climb a Via Ferrata

Get a taste of the vertical alpine world--no experience required.

Introduction to Knot Tying: Terminology

Knot tying is an essential skills for the backcountry, and knowing the lingo is essential to learning how to tie knots. Here's a vocab lesson to get you started.

3D Interactive Grand Canyon: Our Toughest Routes

Tackle our toughest and least-crowded routes in the Grand Canyon with this interactive map.

Life List: Colorado Trail

Bag a peak every day (and a view every step) on the country's highest-elevation footpath.

Life List: Grand Canyon

Learn where solitude reigns--and why. Plus: Tackle the hardest Big Ditch route we've ever published.

Colorado Trail: Top Peaks

The top peaks for every type of hiker.

Grand Canyon: Hardest Hike Ever

This epic trip is hard, dry, steep--and gorgeous. The Cranberry Route--the final leg of this challenging loop--is the boldest, hardest scramble our scouts have done in the Grand Canyon. Study the key steps of this eight-mile section and see more details at backpacker.com/hikes/637440. Warning: Don't attempt this route without advanced navigation skills.

Gear Review: Five Ten Guide Tennie

Supreme stickiness on rock in a lightweight hiking shoe

Gear Review: Metolius Full Strength Mini Carabiner

The lightest carabiner

Scramble Safely With the Hip Belay

Add security on steep terrain with the simple hip belay.

Gear Review: Petzl Summit Ice Axe

Gross a glacier or handle snow travel on big peaks with this versatile mountaineering axe.

Gear School: Crampons

Traverse snow and ice safely with the right set of points.

Gear Review: Head Sweats Alpine Reversible Beanie

Get sweaty and stay warm–this is the ideal hat for cold weather climbing.

The Manual: How to Explore a Slot Canyon

Explore these redrock mysteries safely with expert tips on gear and technique.

Gear Guide 2009: Osprey Variant 52 Review

Climb, scramble, and mountaineer with the stable Variant pack.

Gear Guide 2009: Marmot Eiger 48 Review

Tackle trails, boulder fields, and steep peaks with the climber-geared Marmot Eiger 48 backpack.

Gear Guide 2009: L.L. Bean Mountain Guide Review

Bring along your winter toys— L.L. Bean's Mountain Guide pack can carry anything from ice climbing gear to skis.

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond Predator 50 Review

Take Black Diamond's practical Predator 50 with you on any trail, anytime.

Gear Guide 2009: The North Face Spire 40 Review

Scramble up anything with the North Face's climber-oriented Spire 40 backpack.

Gear Guide 2009: Marmot Alpha 25 Review

Pack up the weekend toys for your outdoor activity of choice in Marmot's ultralight–and ultra cheap–Alpha 25 backpack.

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond RPM Review

Run, climb or ski with the low profile Black Diamond RPM pack.

Get This Gear: Essentials From A to Z

We tested more than 500 products–stoves, clothes, cameras, filters, tech tools, knives, and meals–to find these proven performers.

International Multisport Meccas: Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Trek across the roof of the Andes, mix in some trail riding–on bike and horseback–and climb a 19,000-foot volcano.

International Multisport Meccas: Sardinia, Italy

Test your scrambling skills–plus sea kayak, rock climb, and scuba dive the Gulf of Orosei Coast.

International Multisport Meccas: French Alps

Walk, bike, and raft between a string of glaciated peaks; then ladder-climb 2,500 feet up a sheer rock face.

International Mulitsport Meccas: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Float, backpack, and mountain bike Canada's wild west coast.

Diagnosis of Disaster

Experts dissect the missteps in five recent hiking tragedies

Man Versus Rock

A staged photo op in the Tetons results in a near-crushing.

Fighting Death on Mt. Foraker

Stunned by the loss of his friends, a stranded climber struggles down one of Alaska's toughest peaks.

Natural Born Killers: Top Backcountry Dangers

Which is the bigger backcountry threat, grizzlies or flash floods? Find out what should scare you–and how to survive it–with BACKPACKER's Terror Index.

Mt. Adams: Solitude On Ice

Test your self-arrest skills on Mt. Adams's 12,276-foot fractured glacier.

Highpoint Montana

Get vertical on a tricky class IV route to the top of Granite peak.

Apparel Guide: All-Purpose Shells

Check out the Cloudveil Hobak, EMS Aurora Shell Pant, L.L. Bean Ascent GTX, Mountain Hardwear Dragon, and Sierra Designs Cyclone Eco

Lightweight Climbing Gear

With a light climbing rope, shoes, and harness, you'll be packed and ready to hit the rock in no time.

Next Level: Survive an Emergency Rappel

Learn the Dülfersitz rappel and safely lower yourself off of a steep pitch with only a rope.

Climb Higher

With the right preparation–and a little help from a half-dozen friends, two exotic techno-gadgets, and one very sweaty hypoxic chamber–can a sea-level-dwelling rookie climb the highest peak in Colorado?

Emergency Repair Knots

Duct tape isn't always the best fix for busted gear. When a torn strap or blown seam halts your hike, try these strong and simple ties.

Highpoint Texas

Traverse Guadalupe Mountains National Park to the state's airiest perch.

March 2008 Perfect System: East



March 2008 Perfect System: Southwest



March 2008 Perfect System: Rocky Mountains



March 2008 Perfect System: Northwest



Backpacker 2008 Gear Guide: Perfect System

The best gear in the world can be worthless in the wrong conditions. That's where Backpacker's Perfect System comes in.

March 2008 Boots Review: Start Smart Boot Tips



March 2008 Boots Review: Heavy Duty Boots



March 2008 Boots Review: Mid-Duty Boots



March 2008 Boots Review: Light Duty Boots



Backpacker Gear Guide: Boots

You won't go far with sore feet. So our testers went the distance–5,000 miles, to be exact–to bring you the best shoes for every foot and hike.

Survive This: Trapped by a Rock

When a scramble turns to a nightmare learn how to help yourself.

3 Ways to See Mexico's Pacific Coast

Secluded coastline and bikable rain forests are just two things waiting for you in Mexico

3 Ways to See North Georgia

By foot, kayak, or on top of a Boulder, North Georgia has plenty of outside activities.

Learn How to Use an Ice Axe

Master these skills to make your axe a tool—not a toy.

60 Minute Fixes: Atlanta Adventures

Hiking, climbing, and fishing in this New South boomtown.

60-Minute Fixes: Salt Lake City

Hike, bike, and climb in this Utah gem--much more than a skier's paradise

Climbing, Hiking, and Paddling in Los Angeles

Forget Sunset Boulevard. The City of Angels' abundant coastline and steep canyons will have you creating your own walk of fame.

Mountaineering Fitness: Climb Like Ed

Got summit fever? The sky's the limit with a fitness plan and climbing tips from world-class mountaineer Ed Viesturs.

Next Level: Scrambling Steep Peaks

Don't let a steep hike keep you from the best views. Put these vital mountaineering tips to use this weekend.

Backpack Review: Indigo Rox 60

A special pocket makes hydration easier for backpackers carrying this midsize.

Backpack, Paddle, and Climb in Idaho

Idaho is full of surprises--whitewater in the country's deepest canyon, endless climbing at City of Rocks, and high, wild scrambles in the Sawtooths.

More New Zealand Adventures: Climb, Paddle, Jump!

Canyoning, mountaineering, kayaking, and camping, Kiwi-style

Backpack, Bike, and Climb in the Dakotas

You'll never confused Plains with plain after exploring these hard-changing hiking, biking, and climbing routes.

High Points: Granite Peak, Montana

The toughest high point in the lower 48

High Points: Mt. Magazine, Arkansas

Hit the high point and move on to the other attractions this park offers.

Want to Climb a Tree?

Here are tons of tree-climbing resources to get you started.

Expedition Tips: Canadian Rockies

Helpful tips for scrambling Canada's Rocky Mountain parks

Up High Down Below: 3 Top Peaks in the Lower 48

Can't make it to Canada? Try Glacier Peak, Baker Peak, or Catamount Mountain

Hike New Mexico's Alamo Mountain

Explore the past on Otero Mesa

High Points: Spruce Knob, West Virginia

Watch out for rough weather and serpentine-like roads as you drive up to this highpoint.

Boot Review: La Sportiva Nuptse

A favorite among mountaineers

Devil's Thumb: It Can't Be Climbed

Will anyone ever climb the dangerous northwest face of Alaska's Devil's Thumb? Maybe they shouldn't.

High-Altitude Blues

Why do we bonk at 14,000 feet?

New Hampshire: The Great Gulf Wilderness

Here is your chance to tag six summits in only 3 days.

Table Mountain, Teton Range

This summit offers the finest view anywhere of the Grand and surrouding peaks.

Glacier Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park

Giant cliffs and numerous waterfalls are among the stunning sites that can be viewed along this Colorado hike.

British Columbia, Mt. Robson

Explore a glacier-covered forest near the Canadian Rockies' highest peak

Handies Peak, San Juan Mountains

This summit will put you high above what many consider to be Colorado's finest mountain range.

Alaska Made Easy

Just minutes from Anchorage lie dozens of world-class hiking and paddling trips. This guide gives you the best, plus gear and travel tips to smooth the way.

Wisconsin, Devil's Lake State Park

Hike to see arty rock sculptures left by the last Ice Age into the Wisconsin rock.

Mountain Miles

Calculate real mileage by accounting for slope in the mountains, and you'll avoid getting into camp after dark.

The Wild List: A Guide To The Best Outdoor Spots

A definitive guide to the hottest, sweetest, looniest, and most colorful spots in the great outdoors.

Expedition Planner: Kamchatka

It's as big as California, boasts more volcanoes than Alaska, and counts nearly as many geysers as Yellowstone.

Dreams Of Tibet: Exploring Lost Himalayan Mountains And Cultures

Deep in the heart of the forbidden Tibetan kingdom, a long-awaited adventure inherited from the author's father takes an unexpected twist.

Climbing Alaska's 'Great One': Denali National Park

Do you have what it takes to climb Alaska's Denali? Find out with our mountaineer's guide.

Climbing The Scenic Route On El Pico de Orizaba

Try this ultra-scenic route if you attempt North America's third highest peak.

Climbing Aconcagua's West/Southwest Face

Aconcagua's West/Southwest Face offers climbers more challenge on the Western Hemisphere's highest peak.

Climbing The Wind River Range: Haystack Mountain

Haystack Mountain offers a sweet climb in Wyoming's remote Wind River Range.

Climbing Jasper National Park: Mount Sarbach

Jasper National Park, Alberta

Climbing Yosemite: Mount Conness

Tuolomne Meadows monarch Mount Conness has been a classic Yosemite climb for years -- and for good reason.

Hiking Italy's Via delle Bocchette

Dolomites, Italy

Climbing Yoho National Park: Mount Carnarvon

Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Climbing Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya offers classic climbing to all backpackers

Climbing The Sierras: Banner Peak

Try climbing the standout Banner Peak, just around the corner from Mammoth Lakes.

Climbing Mexico's Iztaccíhuatl

Planning to climb Mexico's famous volcano Iztaccíhuatl? Start with our online guide.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania

Climbing Denali: The West Buttress Route

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Climbing Kings Canyon: The Obelisk

The Obelisk offers a remote climbing challenge far removed from other Sierra hotspots.

Climbing Yosemite: Matthes Crest

Matthes Crest features superb climbing deep in Yosemite's backcountry.

Climbing Wyoming's Wind River Range: Pingora

This spire deep in Wyoming's Wind River Range serves as the climbing pinnacle of the Cirque of the Towers.

Hiking Tahiti's Rugged East Coast

Jungles, coral-reef wading and rocky scrambling await Tahitian adventure hikers.

Holing Up In A Matterhorn Hut

The Bossi Bivouac Hut offers culture and comfort at the base of the Matterhorn.

Skills For The Upwardly Mobile

Everything you need to know about hiking in the high country, from talus hopping to finding the right gear to dealing with wind and glaciers.

Splendor Hiking The High Sierra

Take the finest mountains in the world, add high-country meadows, glacial valleys, alpine lakes, pine-and-hemlock forests, and what do you have? A recipe for backcountry bliss.

Mountains: The World At Your Feet

High above the trees you'll find the hike of your dreams: a ridgeline trail where your only companion is an occasional mountain goat.

Hike Higher In Colorado's Collegiate Peaks

Hike into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and you'll enjoy Colorado's best summer school.

Approach Shoes Instead Of Hiking Boots?

Consider these points when deciding if an approach shoe is right for you.

Death On Montana's Granite Peak

High on a Montana mountain, the mystery of a long-lost climber continues to unravel for those willing to make the arduous trek and search for clues that literally lie at your feet.

Gaiter Grooming Tips

Before you cinch up your gaiters, consider the best way to keep the wicked weather and bits of terrain at bay.

A Hiker In Mt. Rainier's Wonderland

Sure, you can summit Mt. Rainier, but the real treasure isn't on top. It's the Wonderland Trail down below.

Hiking Montana's Cabinet Mountains

The French-Canadian trappers are long gone, but the grizzlies and waterfalls remain in this alpine nirvana.

Wyoming's Medicine Bow: A Cure For Hikers

Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Forest is just what the hiker ordered.

'Biner Basics

If I had to pick, I'd take a carabiner instead of a pocketknife when I hike.

Boulder River Wilderness, Washington

Majestic peaks rise in all directions in Washington's Boulder River Wilderness -- elegant, jagged, draped in snow.

White Mountains, New Hampshire

Sometimes walking "backward" is the only way to go in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Texas' Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Hike or climb this pristine pink-granite wonderland just outside Austin.

Colorado's Lizard Head Wilderness

Besides being home to a mythical reptile, Colorado's Lizard Head Wilderness is the site of some great hiking.

Once Upon The Alps

In the European high-country Alps you can wander through the most stunning mountains in the world. Vive la difference!

American Climber Alex Lowe Presumed Dead

After hours of searching through ice chunks and piles of snow on Shishapangma Mountain, searchers have called off an avalanche rescue mission to find American climbers Alex Lowe and Dave Bridges.

Soar In Colorado's Eagles Nest Wilderness

Gain a raptor's-eye view of the world in Colorado's Eagles Nest Wilderness.

High Pointers Takes Climbers To The Top

Jim Lockart of Pughtown, Pennsylvania is part of a unique group who have scaled all 50 states' highest peaks.

The Best U.S. Summits: Top Of The World

Who needs Everest when you can have these eight summits, all hikeable, all close to home, no sherpas or yaks required.

Climbing: A Higher Calling

In every backpacker's life, there comes a time when you stare awestruck at a mountain and wonder, "What's it like to climb that sucker?"

Fighting Altitude Sickness

What happens when you go from sea level to altitude too fast? One brave editor found out the hard way, and offers her blow-by-blow findings in hopes that you don't suffer a similar fate.

Nevada's Mt. Moriah Wilderness

Great Basin's Mt. Moriah is a big mountain of solitude.

Colorado's Willow Creek Trail

Hike like a conquistador through Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Yosemite: Treasure Of The Sierra

Forget what CNN and Your Daily News say about Yosemite's crowds and crime and traffic. the "treasure of the Sierra" is still a golden place for backpackers to escape.

Hiker's Paradise: New Zealand

If you like stunning mountains, challenging trails, breathtaking scenery and warm temperatures in winter, New Zealand is your ticket to paradise. Just watch out for the thieving parrots.

Life's Great (Continental) Divide

The Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park is a place of reckoning and, given its trackless nature, a place of choices. To a young man who came of age here, it offers perspective on paths not taken.

Colorado's Heavenly Holy Cross Wilderness

Wilderness doesn't get much better, or higher, than Holy Cross.

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