In the summer of 1995, John Climaco and Andrew Brash were young dirtbag alpinists looking for the adventure of a lifetime. The duo certainly got that and more when they flew to Pakistan for an attempt on Chogolisa (7,665 m / 25,148 ft). Turns out, the climb was only a small part of the journey.
Special thanks to John Climaco
Learn more about John and Andrew’s 1995 expedition to Chogolisa:
On today’s episode of The Firn Line, we’ll get to know legendary North American alpinist, Steve Swenson.
Over the course of a climbing career that has spanned a remarkable 50 years, Steve has left a lasting imprint on the world stage of alpinism, from his roots in the Pacific Northwest, all the way to the 7 and 8,000 meter giants of the Himalaya, and the Pakistani Karakoram.
His early climbs in the Canadian Rockies, which included an astounding list of classic north faces in the 1970’s, set the stage for other first ascents in Alaska and beyond.
But it was Steve’s love for the greater ranges, specifically the Karakoram, that became the biggest alpine pull in his life. Starting with a number of attempts in the early 80’s on Gasherbrum IV, Steve continually refined his style, and partnerships, to make ascents of giants like K2, Everest, and most-recently, one of the highest unclimbed mountains in the world – Link Sar.
I recently got a chance to speak with Steve about his enduring alpine career. We talked about his early climbs as a youngster growing up in the Pacific Northwest, as well as his new book, Karakoram: Climbing Through The Kashmir Conflict, which was released in 2017 by Mountaineers Books.