Rematriating Our Lives: Indigeneity and What it Means to Climb

Beautiful descriptions of climbing combined with a thought-provoking message. Micheli Oliver’s personal essay is a powerful read.

I take a moment to remember how amazing it is to be alive before I dip my hand into chalk again and press my toe into a crystal knob, transfer my weight and reach up to seize a pocket so sharp it cuts into my calluses. I know that I’m strong enough for this route with my ancestors standing behind me even as I make one more move, become too exhausted and fall.

Published: May 5, 2022
Length: 15 minutes (3,955 words)

A Beginner’s Guide to Suffering

“It occurred to me that not once during the climb had I thought to turn away from the route to take in the overwhelming beauty of the place I was in. I’d been so focused on making up lost time and performing well that I had forgotten where I was. I wondered what else I had missed in the margins of my pursuit of legitimacy.”

Published: Feb 14, 2022
Length: 13 minutes (3,296 words)

The Fight for Workforce Equity on Kilimanjaro

“”Porters die every year,” Barnabas explains. “What’s the common cause of death? Not having good equipment.” Few trekking operators provide gear to guides and porters. Instead, local workers are often expected to purchase their own equipment—a significant financial burden given their salaries.”

 

Published: Jan 27, 2021
Length: 15 minutes (3,999 words)

And Then There Were Twelve

“Climbing culture: we come to each other’s aid in times of need. Ethan and Lorne knew they had to stay and help. The four men hunkered down inside the schrund-cave. With each cup of tea they brewed, their spirits rose. They would make it through the night.”

Published: Dec 19, 2020
Length: 18 minutes (4,600 words)

Contraindications

“I covered the rock beneath me in tears and beat it with my fists. The word No echoed off the cold and shadowed face of Rachu Tangmu. In less than a minute, I unleashed the emotions that I knew I would lock down for weeks, until I got us home. I closed my eyes and wiped my face. Calm and even, I did CPR for an hour despite the obvious signs that she had passed away. It is what you do, so I did it.”

Published: Sep 22, 2017
Length: 27 minutes (6,890 words)

Water is Life

“As I climbed and skied over rapidly receding snowfields, the journeys felt akin to doing final rounds of visits with my elders who are sick and soon to walk on into the next world.”

Published: Oct 5, 2020
Length: 17 minutes (4,391 words)

The Thing With Feathers

On mountains, climate science, and hope.

Published: Nov 27, 2019
Length: 15 minutes (3,800 words)

The Accidental Mountaineer

Seeking solace and transformation after multiple traumas, Los Angelean Ana Beatriz Cholo started mountain-climbing and set her sights on Denali, North America’s highest peak.

Published: Sep 8, 2017
Length: 12 minutes (3,027 words)