43 episodes

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, Polartec and Gnarly Nutrition. This podcast is produced by the editors of the American Alpine Journal.

The Cutting Edge The American Alpine Journal

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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, Polartec and Gnarly Nutrition. This podcast is produced by the editors of the American Alpine Journal.

    Chantel Astorga: Solo on the Cassin Ridge

    Chantel Astorga: Solo on the Cassin Ridge

    This year, alpinist Chantel Astorga realized a long-held dream: a solo ascent of the classic Cassin Ridge on Denali, climbing 8,000 vertical feet from the bergschrund to the summit in 14 hours and 39 minutes. An avalanche forecaster based in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho, Chantel has been guiding and climbing on Denali for well over a decade. As you’ll hear in Episode 44 of the Cutting Edge,, Chantel applied all of her experience on Denali to plan and execute the first female solo of the Cassin, including a complex approach down Denali’s Seattle Ramp to reach the base. (Possibly the first time this route has been skied.) She then carried her skis up and over, descending the upper West Buttress to return to her high camp.

    Speaking with the AAJ’s Lauren Miller, Chantel describes her tactics and decision-making for the Cassin Ridge in great depth. It’s a peek inside the mind of a Denali master.

    The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Lowa Boots, Polartec, and Gnarly Nutrition. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.

    • 48 min
    Vitaliy Musiyenko: The Goliath Traverse

    Vitaliy Musiyenko: The Goliath Traverse

    Vitaliy Musiyenko fell in love with California's High Sierra in his early 20s. A decade later, at age 34, he is among the most prolific and accomplished explorers of the Range of Light, having climbed well over 100 long new routes. For much of this time, he has dreamed of putting all this experience to the test on a massive traverse of the Sierra Crest: by far the biggest technical traverse ever attempted in a range celebrated for its challenging linkups.

    Vitaliy made his first attempt on what he came to call the Goliath in 2016, doing the complete Evolution Crest, from Piute Pass to Bishop Pass. But something told him if he kept going that time, he might never make it out alive. His ultimate goal would add an extended version of the Palisade Traverse, including some sections that had never been done. In early August of this year, with a good forecast and eight days of food, he started out again.

    For episode 43 of the Cutting Edge, Lauren Miller, herself a longtime Sierra climber, spoke with Vitaliy about his extensive preparation and the physical and mental challenges of this Goliath traverse.

    The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Polartec, Gnarly Nutrition, and Lowa Boots. This show is produced by the American Alpine Club.

    • 56 min
    Marek Holeček: His Greatest Challenge in Over 40 Expeditions

    Marek Holeček: His Greatest Challenge in Over 40 Expeditions

    Our guest this episode is the Czech climber Marek Holeček, among the most successful alpine climbers of the past two decades. Holeček has climbed new routes all over the world, from Kyrgyzstan to Patagonia, Antarctica to Afghanistan. Two of his biggest successes came in the past five years, when he was already in his 40s: new routes on Gasherbrum I in Pakistan and Chamlang in Nepal, both of which were honored with Piolets d’Or. His new route up 7,162-meter Baruntse in Nepal, climbed in late May with Radoslav (Radek) Groh, is of similar stature.

    Holeček and Groh climbed the west face of Baruntse, 10 kilometers west of Makalu, in four days. Near the top, a fierce storm arrived a day and a half earlier than expected, and they had to fight to the summit, where they were pinned down for four nights. Finally, on their ninth day out from base camp, the storm let up enough for them to descend about 1,000 meters. After one more night, strung out and threatened by avalanche danger, and with no one left in their tiny base camp to help them out, they were picked up by a helicopter and flown off the lower mountain. Holeček said the route was the hardest he'd climbed yet, out of more than 40 expeditions.

    AAJ editor in chief Dougald MacDonald interviewed Holecek in late July. Since most of Holeček's interviews and videos are in Czech, this is a rare opportunity for English speakers to hear directly from one of the great alpinists of our time.

    The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker (Hilleberg.com), with additional support from Polartec, Gnarly Nutrition, and Lowa Boots. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.

    • 45 min
    Ines Papert on Climbing, Motherhood and Mt. Huntington

    Ines Papert on Climbing, Motherhood and Mt. Huntington

    Ines Papert from Germany accomplished many of her greatest climbs while raising a small child. In this special episode, Sarah Hart interviews Ines about the challenges of combining motherhood with intense ambition as a climber, about forging new paths for women, and about climbing with your romantic partner. Ines and her partner (now husband), Luka Lindic from Slovenia, just finished a trip to Alaska, where they climbed a hard new route on Mt. Huntington. In part two of this episode, Lauren Miller speaks with Ines about the Alaska trip and their beautiful new route.

    The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional Support from Gnarly Nutrition, LOWA Boots, and Polaretc. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Surviving the Medusa Face of Mt. Neacola, Alaska

    Surviving the Medusa Face of Mt. Neacola, Alaska

    In late April, on their third trip to Alaska's remote and forbidding Mt. Neacola, Ryan Driscoll, Justin Guarino, and Nick Aiello-Popeo made the first complete ascent of the north face (a.k.a. the Medusa Face). The New Hampshire–based trio followed the line of a visionary 1995 attempt by Topher Donahue and Kennan Harvey until high on the wall, then added another full day of sustained climbing to top out, before descending the unknown east face. And this was only AFTER they had been avalanched out of their base camp earlier in the same month. It's a wild, wild story, and Ryan and Justin tell it in-depth, with Chris Kalman asking the questions.

    The Cutting Edge is presented by Hilleberg the Tentmaker, with additional support from Lowa Boots, Polartec, and Gnarly Nutrition. This podcast is produced by the American Alpine Club.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Maryna Kopteva: Huge Walls with All-Women Teams

    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.

    • 34 min

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