The Cutting Edge presents in-depth interviews with the world's best climbers, just back from great new climbs. Presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker (http://hilleberg.com), with additional support from LOWA and Polartec. This podcast is produced by the editors of the American Alpine Journal.
Maryna Kopteva: Huge Walls with All-Women Teams
For more than a decade, Maryna Kopteva has been one of the world’s most accomplished climbers in a demanding style: big-wall first ascents on remote, high, and cold mountains. The Ukrainian woman has done new routes on Great Trango Tower in Pakistan, Tengkangpoche in Nepal, and the Golden Sentinel in India, among others. And what makes these climbs even more special is that they all were done with very small teams of women. For this reason, we interviewed Maryna for our special series called “In Her Own Words: Conversations with Female Alpinists.”
This interview, led by Canadian climber Sarah Hart, not only gives insight into Maryna’s career, it also gives us a view into the climbing culture of Ukraine and other former Soviet states, where team cohesiveness and working together are often valued more than individual accomplishments. To a large degree, this approach helps explain why Maryna and her small teams of Russian and Ukrainian women have had such impressive success on high mountain walls.
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Lowa Boots, Polartec, and new sponsor Gnarly Nutrition. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.
Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll: The Moonwalk Traverse
Our guest in episode 38 is the globe-trotting adventurer Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll, who in February pulled off a mind-blowing feat of climbing: the first ever south to north traverse of the full Fitz Roy massif in Patagonia. This is the same spiky ridgeline that Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell traversed in 2014, but Sean did it in the opposite direction and he did all alone. And even though, as you’ll hear, he definitely wasn’t in any hurry, he took only two days longer than Tommy and Alex, despite carrying 10 days of food and self-belaying most of the climbing.
The traverse entailed more than 4,000 meters of vertical gain, and except for the rappels, he did it all free, with pitches up to 6c (5.11). Chris Kalman interviewed Sean in El Chaltén, where he has been living for the past year.
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Polartec and Lowa Boots. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.
Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold in Rocky Mountain National Park
Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold need no introduction. Our show with them about the speed record on the Nose of El Cap (Episode 8) was by far the most popular we've ever done. Now they're back to chat with Chris Kalman about the CDUL Traverse: the Continental Divide Ultimate Linkup in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. The two spent 36 hours in July doing 11 of the Park's most classic climbing routes and summiting 17 peaks.
This traverse took place last summer, but the interview is brand new, and we also asked Tommy and Alex to reflect on their experiences climbing in the time of COVID, traveling vs. staying home, the opportunities for great adventures right in your own backyard, and what they're working on now.
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from new sponsors Lowa and Polartec. This episode was also sponsored by Coros Vertix. The Cutting Edge podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.
Photo by Adam Stack.
Lynn Hill and the Challenges of Women's Climbing
Lynn Hill needs no introduction to the Cutting Edge audience: She is arguably the most ground-breaking female rock climber and big-wall free climber in the history of the sport. We asked Lynn to come onto the show not to talk about her climbs, however, but about her experiences as a woman climber, both at her peak as a professional (she free climbed the Nose of El Capitan in a day in 1994) and today. About the unconscious bias she and other women have faced in climbing, and about the challenges that remain.
This episode kicks off a special series of the Cutting Edge called "In Her Own Words: Conversations With Female Alpinists." These interviews were conducted by Canadian climber Sarah Hart, who wrote a major article in AAJ 2020 about the state of the art of women's alpinism and a new system for increasing coverage of high-level women's climbs in the pages of the AAJ. As part of this project, Sarah interviewed several women about the unique challenges they have faced as leading female climbers. More episodes in this series will appear in the coming months.
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Polartec. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.
Photo of Lynn Hill by Bob Carmichael.
Priti and Jeff Wright's Big Year: Cerro Torre, The Alps and K6 Central
Priti and Jeff Wright are wrapping up the kind of year that most climbers only dream about. The young tech engineers took a sabbatical from work to experience "A Year in the Life of Colin Haley," inspired by the world-roaming alpinist who is one of their mentors. The result was more they could have imagined, despite all the obstacles of Covid-19: a summit of Cerro Torre, the "Six Classic North Faces of the Alps," and the first ascent of a 7,000-meter peak in the Karakoram. It's van life on steroids! AAJ contributor Lauren DeLaunay got all the details.
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker (Hilleberg.com). This show is produced by the American Alpine Club.
Barry Blanchard, Ethan Berman and Uisdean Hawthorn on Mt. Robson
Yuh-hai-has-kun (Mt. Robson) is one of North America's greatest peaks, despite rising to less than 4,000 meters or 13,000 feet. In early October, Ethan Berman (U.S.) and Uisdean Hawthorn (Scotland) completed a rare new route to the summit, climbing a 2,000-meter line up the Emperor Face, left of the classic Infinite Patience. In this episode, we speak with both men about their profound experience on the mountain, and we also chat with Barry Blanchard, who put up Infinite Patience in 2002 with Eric Dumerac and Philippe Pellet, after many attempts. It's a Robson double-header!
The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker (hilleberg.com). This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.