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Mountaineering



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: Mammut Rescyou Crevasse Kit

An all-inclusive rescue kit that's easy to operate.

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.

Gear Review: Grivel G10 Crampon

Spikes built with extra security for all your alpine adventures.

Gear Review: Beal Unicore Tiger 10MM Rope

A rope you can confidently rely - and rappel - on.

Study links two genes to mountain sickness

The results might eventually lead to more effective treatment for altitude sickness.

Rent or Own? Making Gear Choices

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

Gear Guide 2013: Heavy Duty Boots

The toughest, burliest of boots.

Gear Review: Snow Peak Lago 2 Tent

This versatile, two-person shelter handles high-altitude summers and winters with equal aplomb.

Peakbagger Skills

Tips for overcoming jetlag, gathering beta, and getting your summit gear to foreign peaks in one piece.

Gear Review: Petzl Lynx Crampon

Crampons that switch between automatic and semi-automatic, for all boots and situations.

Gear Review: Climb X High Mountain Axe

A high-performance axe for an unbeatable price.

Gear Review: Mammut El Cap Helmet

An hip and multifunctional helmet for all uses.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Aspect Harness

The Aspect will take you anywhere a harness needs to go.

Gear Review: Salewa Pro Guide Boot

A solid mountaineering boot that handles distance.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2012: Mountaineering

Go high with gear picked by the editors of Climbing magazine.

Gear Review: SmartWool PhD Mountaineering Sock

A blend of nylon and merino makes these socks durable and fast-drying.

Gear Review: Julbo Trek Sunglasses

These mountaineering sunglasses keep perspiration away.

Gear Review: Scarpa Rebel GTX Carbon Mountaineering Boots

One of the world's lightest mountaineering boots designed by climbing phenom Ueli Steck.

Gear Review: Gregory Alpinisto 50 Backpack

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

Outdoor Retailer Summer 2012 Recap Day 3

On the third day of the 2012 Summer Outdoor Retailer show, our reader reporter team found some great boots and essentials for under $20.

Heroes: Kyle Maynard, 26

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is plenty hard with two strong legs. Imagine crawling to the top, like the first congenital quadruple amputee to reach the summit.

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

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

Secret Switzerland

Discover solitude on the Swiss border with this highlights tour of John Harlin's favorite trips—rope not required.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2011: Editors' Picks

The editors of Backpacker and Climbing weigh in on their favorite pieces of gear and gadgets.

True Tales: Can't Breathe at High Altitude

A scape of pulmonary edema sends this reader down the mountain, fast.

True Tales: Uncontrolled Slide Down an Icy Slope

A summer snow slope gives this reader the scare of his life.

Ski Strong: Kick Turn Like a Pro

Perfect this move for on-a-dime turns in steep, rugged terrain.

Ski Strong: Descend with Control

Stay safe with these six ski-down tips.

Ski Strong: Adjust Your Ski Poles

Use telescoping shafts for stability on any angle.

Ski Strong: Ski Any Snow Conditions

Change your technique and style to manage any snow conditions.

Ski Strong: Stay Fueled

Conquer cold with proactive hydration and calorie-packed nutrition.

Ski Strong: Going Up

Master the art of backcountry climbing and skinning.

Ski Strong: Beat Blisters

Outsmart stiff boots and constant heel lifting with these anti-friction tips.

Select a Safe Route: Avalanche Terrain Travel

Recognize these avalanche-risk signs and learn how to choose routes that avoid them.

Select a Safe Route: Study the Snowpack

Hidden layers are the key to stableóor slide-readyóslopes.

Select a Safe Route: Watch the Weather

All conditions affect avy potential. Check forecasts and assess risk.

Maintain and Repair Your Ski Gear

A broken binding or a skin that wonít stick could mean a night spent out in a snow cave, or worse. Have your kit tuned up before you go, but make sure you know how to fix common problems in a pinch.

Ski Strong and Smart

You donít need pro-level skills to ski off-piste, but honing your kick-turn technique and avoiding rookie mistakes will ease your transition to backcountry terrain. Hereís how to master the ups and downs when lifts and groomers are miles away. Plus: Prevent blisters, stay energized, and negotiate steeps.

Select a Safe Ski Route

Caused by variable weather, unstable snowpack, and steep terrain, backcountry avalanches claim an average of 25 lives a year in the United States. Your first safety step: Brush up on the basics below. Next, take a course accredited by the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education

Prep Your Backcountry Ski Gear

On any wilderness trip, smart preparation is key. But itís even more important when youíre backcountry skiing, due to the technical gear, low temperatures, potential for severe weather, avalanche risk, and tricky routefinding. Hereís how to start smartóbefore you leave home.

Backcountry Skiing 101

Start earning your turns–safely–with this primer on equipment, route planning, reading conditions, and more.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Mountaineering Gear

All the top mountaineering gear, picked for you by the editors of Climbing magazine.

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Smartwool Mountaineering Extra Heavy Crew Socks

The perfect Merino sock for mountaineering or winter expeditions

Survival: Bring Your Own Gear

Don't scrimp on survival equpiment.

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.

Tough Outdoor Jobs

Every backpacker dreams of a glory job in the outdoors. Here's what it takes to make the grade for 8 of the toughest ones out there.

Are You Tough Enough?

Every backpacker dreams of a glory job in the outdoors. Senior Editor Shannon Davis heads to Mt. Rainier--and a grueling tryout with premier guide operation RMI--to find out what it takes to make the grade.

Gear Review: Julbo MonteBianco Sunglasses

High-elevation glasses that have city street style.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Contact Crampons

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

Best Winter Trips: Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

The granddaddy of the Cascades looms above Seattle like a great white beacon for snow junkies. The mountain's 25 major glaciers hold enough ice to bury Manhattan 150 feet deep, and some of the planet's highest recorded snowfalls guarantee powder for all. Paradise, the park's winter epicenter, has year-round road access.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010: Mountaineering Gear

Head high with an axe, crampons, and more.

Gear Review: Salewa Raven Combi GTX Mountaineering Boots

These heavy duty mountaineering boots are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable.

Gear Review: Atlas 12 Series Snowshoes

Even on steep, deep, and technical inclines these shoes performed mightily.

Gear Review: Atlas BC24 Snowshoes

Snowshoes that comfortably fit on the back of a pack.

Gear Review: Backcountry Access Tracker2

Find avalanche victims as quickly with this beacon.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Couloir Harness

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

Gear Review: Mammut Alugator Expert Shovel

Dig quickly and easily with this all-aluminum shovel.

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.

Gear Review: Grivel Air Tech Light

These lightweight crampons will keep you safe without the added weight.

Gear Review: Komperdell Carbon Ti-2 Powerlock Women Poles

Indestructible ski poles

Gear Review: K2 Lockjaw Carbon/Alu Poles

A built-in inclinometer means these poles can easily take quick slope-angle measurements.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Razor Carbon Poles

Lightweight poles that can still take a beating.

Gear Review: Rottefella Chili Three-Pin Cable Nordic Bindings

A tried-and-true tele binding.

Gear Review: Rossignol BC X-11 Nordic Boots

Boots built for touring.

Gear Review: Rossignol BC 125 Nordic Skis

If you favor long backcountry tours over rolling–but not supersteep–terrain these skis are for you.

Gear Review: Dynafit Manaslu Skis

A lightweight, slim ski built for experts.

Gear Review: K2 Coomback/Gotback Skis

A one-ski workhorse.

Gear Review: Volkl Nanuq Skis

A ski that performs in all conditions.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Drift/Starlet Skis

Built for backcountry powder sessions.

Gear Review: TwentyTwo Designs AXL Telemark Binding

The perfect touring/skiing binding.

Gear Review: Dynafit TLT Vertical ST Alpine Touring Binding

This AT binding is the lightest on the market.

Gear Review: SCARPA T2 Eco Telemark Boot

This telemark boot combines stiffness (for downhills) and comfort (for touring).

Gear Review: Dynafit ZZero 4 C-TF/PX-TF Alpine Touring Boot

These alpine touring boots fit all are testers superbly and is comfortable going up or flying down.

Gear Review: Flylow Tough Guy Gloves

Gloves that are rugged and cheap.

Gear Review: Columbia Carabineer Gloves

Gloves made with thermal-reflective Omni-Heat lining.

Gear Review: Black Diamond Virago Mitt

Tuck chemical handwarmers in these mitts for long-lasting heat.

Gear Review: Mountain Hardware Pistolero Gloves

Tough gloves that still let you use your fingers for delicate tasks.

Gear Review: Arc'teryx Alpha SV Gloves

The best gloves for wet and cold we tested.

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.

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: Bag a Remote Peak

Stand alone atop Washington's Glacier Peak--a summit that others rarely see, let alone climb.

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.

Life List: Colorado Trail

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

Life List: Switzerland's Via Alpina

Devour the world's best scenery, chocolate, and cheese on the Via Alpina.

Gear Review: Millet 350

This lightweight shell is mountain ready.

Gear Review: Julbo Monterosas Glacier Glasses

Women's glacier glasses that transform to daily shades

The Peak: Mt. Greylock

Take the 5.5 mile trek up Bellows Pipe Trail to the summit; while you're there, enjoy a local cocktail and a cup of chowder at Bascom Lodge.

Master the Steeps

You love mountains, but your legs don't. Here's how to fix four common problems caused by high-angle hiking.

Fall/Winter Gear Guide 09: Mountaineering

Head up the mountain with these essential items: harness, rope, helmet, transceiver, crampon, and ice axe.

Gear Review: Zamberlan 1009 Vioz Top GT RR Mountaineering Boot

Insulated backpacking boots with enough support to carry a 50-pound pack.

Gear Review: Columbia Winter Trek XMT Omni-Tech Hiking Boot

Ideal for treks on packed snow, this boot is great for wintry day hikes.

Gear Review: Kamik Snowpass Snowshoe Boot

Ideal for snowshoeing, or wintry day hikes, this boot keeps your feet dry and warm.

Gear Review: Helly Hansen Lynx Snowshoe Boot

Whether it's snowshoeing, light day hiking, or sloshing through town, this boot does it all.

Gear Review: Zamberlan 4041 Expert Pro GT RR

Sturdy yet light, this boot is great for the most extreme day hikes.

Gear Review: La Sportiva Baruntse Mountaineering Boot

Made for big peaks, this boot is warm, and great for ice and snow

Gear Review: Black Diamond Sabretooth Clip Crampon

These Black Diamond crampons are low profile and razor sharp.

Gear Review: Mammut Pulse Barryvox Transceiver

This Mammut transceiver has three antennae and an internal compass.

Gear Review: Wild Country 360 Helmet

This Wild Country helmet offers full coverage against falling rock and ice, and it's under $60.

Gear Review: Edelweiss Touring 8mm Rope

This 8mm Edelweiss rope is great for glacier crossings.

Gear Review: ABC Guide Harness

The ABC Guide harness is lightweight and utilitarian.

Gear Review: Kayland 8001 Mountaineering Boot

Multiple layers and materials make this boot perfect for the summit.

The Unlikeliest Mountaineer

Take a fatherless herd boy from poverty-wracked Swaziland, endow him with an indomitable will and a few wealthy friends, give him the lungs of Ed Viesturs, and you have...

Video/Blog: Kings of the Mountain--Ed Viesturs, the Whittakers and more

Ed Viesturs, Peter Whittaker, Dave Hahn, and young guns Seth Waterfall and Melissa Arnot are joining forces to create a new line of gear and attack Mount Everest.

Gear Guide 2009: Sierra Designs Convert 2 Tent Review

This is one of the lightest, toughest four-season tent on the market.

Gear Guide 2009: REI Cirque ASL 2 Tent Review

Want to get a winter tent without breaking the bank? The Cirque is the tent for you.

Gear Guide 2009: MSR Dragontail Tent Review

This winter tent is long, lean, and livable.

Gear Guide 2009: Black Diamond Stormtrack Tent Review

Black Diamond's Stormtrack will keep even giants warm in the mountains.

Gear Guide 2009: Big Agnes String Ridge 2 Tent Review

Adequate space, bomber construction, and light weight make the String Ridge our pick for this year's best mountaineering tent.

Gear Guide 2009: Vasque Radiator Boot Review

Heavy loads and dangerous terrain are no obstacle for these waterproof mountaineering boots.

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.

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.

Cold War: A Winter Traverse of New Hampshire's Presidential Range

Got guts? Good. Now learn what skills you'll need to bag America's Little Everest—a traverse of New Hampshire's Presidential Range in Winter.

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.

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?

Secret Agent Man

Animals can't talk. But Ed Newcomer can. As an elite U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service detective, he goes undercover to protect threatened raptors, bears, even butterflies–and bring poachers and smugglers to court. Inside the agency's latest covert operation.

The Porters' Progress

Two Everest-scaling Sherpas face their biggest challenge yet–surviving suburban America.

Next Level: The Rest Step

Learn the mountaineer's secret for hiking up steep, high-altitude terrain.

March 2008 Boots Review: Heavy Duty Boots



March 2008 Boots Review: Mid-Duty Boots



March 2008 Tents Review: Mountaineering Tents



Survive This: Trapped by a Rock

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

No More Peaks in the Distance

Rising treeline threatens the Northeast's best views.

Learn How to Stay On Course

By understanding your terrain, knowing your pace, and reading the map regularly you can stay on course wherever you are.

The Workout: Hike Farther, Hike Stronger

Want legs that can tackle any climb, any heavy pack, any mileage? Well, don't work harder–work smarter. We grilled fitness experts and scoured the medical literature to uncover the latest, greatest strategies for building strength, endurance, speed, and flexibility.

How Climate Change is Affecting Our Alpine Environments

Thanks to melting ice and snow, climate change is effecting the future of our mountains

Hell On Wheels

Bob Coomber is determined to become the first man in a wheelchair to ascend a 14,000-foot mountain.

The Works: Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

Stand on the roof of Africa this winter with our all-you-need-to-know guide.

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.

The Specialist: Climb Better At Altitude

Feel good at 10,000 feet with advice from a Rainier guide.

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.

8 Weeks to Fitness for Any Hike

No gyms, no weights–and, with our easy-to-follow plan–no bonking on the trail.

The Works: Climb Mt. McKinley

Experience the nighttime sky from 20,320 feet up majestic Mt. McKinley -- but first read our guide to the trip.

More New Zealand Adventures: Climb, Paddle, Jump!

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

Into Quiet Air: iPods at Altitude

Unraveling a high-altitude mystery: why some iPods get sick in the alpine zone.

The Works: Mt. Washington In Winter

Hurricane-force winds and a snowfall average of 246 inches per year? Cake, compared to the challenge the mountain poses in summer.

High Points: Mt. Rainier, Washington

Get to the top and you'll hear a joyous echo

High Points: Gannett Peak, Wyoming

The longest and wildest approach in the bunch

High Points: Borah Peak, Idaho

Don't forget your sound judgment when summitting this high point.

High Points: Granite Peak, Montana

The toughest high point in the lower 48

High Points: Mt. Hood, Oregon

Head through the Pearly Gates for a heavenly sunrise

Boot Review: Scarpa Alpha

No toes will be lost in these mountaineering boots.

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.

Highlander Genes

Why are Sherpas so studly?

High-Altitude Blues

Why do we bonk at 14,000 feet?

Handies Peak, San Juan Mountains

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

British Columbia, Mt. Robson

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

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.

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 Denali: The West Buttress Route

Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Climbing Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya offers classic climbing to all backpackers

Mount Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania

Climbing Mexico's Iztaccíhuatl

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

Climbing The Sierras: Banner Peak

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

Hiking Italy's Via delle Bocchette

Dolomites, Italy

Climbing Yosemite: Mount Conness

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

Climbing Kings Canyon: The Obelisk

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

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 Yoho National Park: Mount Carnarvon

Yoho National Park, British Columbia

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.

Holing Up In A Matterhorn Hut

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

Best Backpacking In Oregon

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in Oregon.

Hike Higher In Colorado's Collegiate Peaks

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Winter Tips For Cold Hands And Feet

A little motion brings the heat back.

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.

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.

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?"

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.

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.

Alaska's Tordrillo Mountains: High, Wild, and Unknown

The Tordrillo Mountains are so rugged, you'd swear you're the first human to set foot there.

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