International

Climbing the Midi-Plan Traverse

My partner was sick yesterday so I went out on a solo mission and wanted to see some new terrain. Not knowing exactly what I was going to get into I packed my Deuter Speed Lite 20 and took off for the Aiguille du Midi. After leaving the Midi I could see the Aiguille du Plan and it seemed the obvious choice for an outing but I knew nothing about the route. In my Speed Lite 20 pack I brought a 7.5mm tag line if I needed to rappel, a half liter of water, one GU, my Petzl Altitude harness, my Reverso, Sarken crampons, a sling and locking carabiner, and my La Sportiva Hail Jacket. So I was definitely...

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Why do you climb?

Why do we climb?     “Because it is there.” This is the obligatory first line and the historical answer to this question that George Mallory so kindly provided us with in 1943. While this reason could be reason enough for most involved in the sport, I think many of us that have been climbing for over a decade and logged thousands of miles on stone, ice and snow, it is a much more in depth question.   I was just in a private conversation on Facebook with a few climbers talking about ethics (never a good subject), and it dawned on me that even these dedicated, weekend...

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Climbing Armenia

I am still getting used to speeding my life back up even though it has been over a week since I returned from the former Soviet state of Armenia. The life there is just a bit slower: you get a couple of hours to eat a breakfast that doesn't even start until 9 A.M.! I actually figured one morning that I could drag breakfast into lunch and possibly take a quick siesta at the table and still be on time for dinner.  Lest this made me feel a bit sluggish, I quickly woke up when I hit the Yerevan streets in my little Lada Niva. Locals all drive like they have just stolen the vehicle they are in: one foot...

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Armenian Hard Man

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the first-ever indoor climbing competition--a beginners' comp for local Armenian Mountaineering and Hiking Federation members. The honorable guest, main speaker, and judge was Aghvan Chatinyan. Chatinyan is known as the "Armenian Hard Man" and at 84, he lives up to it. His list of life accomplishments is long to say the least. The greatest feat, according to many Armenian locals, was edging out Soviet climber Mikhael Khergiani in the 1952 climbing comp in Arzni, Armenia. The only place this was documented was a newspaper called the "Communist."...

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