If you can see Mt. Baker, you are part of The Experience

Who tames the Khumbu Icefall, and other mountain trivia


This is the third installment of Mount Baker Experience Mountain Trivia. Find the answers at the bottom of this page.

By Jason D. Martin

1 The well-regarded novelist behind the “Hyperion Cantos” science fiction series penned a piece of historical fiction about Mt. Everest. In his book ,“The Abominable,” a year has gone by since Mallory and Irvine disappeared. A second – this time covert – expedition is launched to search for a secret lost on the mountain. This excellent adventure story is full of climbing adventure, spies, Nazis and even yetis. Who wrote this book?

a) Stephen King

b) William Gibson

c) Dan Simmons

d) Andy Weir

2 In June of 2019, a 10-year-old named Selah Schneiter became the youngest known person to climb this famous 3,000-foot feature.

a) The Nose on El Capitan

b) The northwest face of Half Dome

c) Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainier

d) The Cassin Ridge on Denali

3 In early May, Seattle lost a beloved outdoor shop in the heart of Ballard. A sign appeared on the door that said, “We will miss you.” For over 20 years the shop served the climbing, skiing, biking and backcountry communities at its Ballard location. In late June, it was announced that the shop would reopen under new ownership, while also retaining most of its core employees. What is the name of the shop?

a) Feathered Friends

b) Pro Mountain Shop

c) Marmot Mountain Works

d) Ascent Outdoors

4 2020 will mark the first time that climbing is involved in the Olympics. Oddly, to medal, an individual must be competitive in three categories: sport climbing, bouldering and speed climbing. This third category, in which climbers compete on standardized, 15-meter-tall walls with exactly the same hold placements, is little known in the United States but popular elsewhere. It has its own version of the four-minute mile that no one seems able to break. What is that limit?

a) Two meters per second

b) The five-second mark

c) Four meters per second

d) The seven-second mark

5 There are two major types of rock climbing, free climbing and aid climbing. In free climbing, a climber ascends the wall using his or her hands and feet. The rope and the gear are only there for protection. In aid climbing, the climber places gear in the wall as he or she ascends. The climber clips webbing ladders to the gear to go up the wall. What are these ladders called?

a) Cams

b) Etriers or aiders

c) AidClimbers

d) Lads (short for


6 The Khumbu Icefall is one of the cruxes of a climb on the south side of Mt. Everest. Most climbers follow fixed lines through the constantly moving and incredibly dangerous icefall. Every year a small and intrepid group of Sherpa guides develop the route through the icefall and fix the lines. Mt. Everest climbers refer to these specific Sherpa guides as what?

a) Everest riggers

b) Icefall riggers

c) Everest doctors

d) Icefall doctors

7 The Legendary Banked Slalom snowboard race has been held every year except one at the Mt. Baker Ski Area since 1985. Some of the biggest names in the history of snowboarding have won the event. As a tribute to the culture of early snowboarding, the LBS doesn’t award a regular trophy. Famously, the trophy is made out of what?

a) Cardboard

b) Gaudy plastic jewels

c) Candles (It’s lit when presented to the winner.)

d) Duct tape

8 Yvon Chouinard got around. He was famous for making equipment used to rock climb and was the visionary behind the Chouinard Equipment Company. In 1989, the company was struggling with several liability issues and went into bankruptcy. It was bought by a group of employees led by Peter Metcalf and rebranded itself as what outdoor gear company?

a) Black Diamond

b) Patagonia

c) Petzl

d) Helly Hansen

9 In 1959, Walt Disney Productions adapted Banner in the Sky, a book by James Ramsey Ullman, about a young Swiss mountain guide who makes the first ascent of a fictional mountain called the Citadel after the same mountain killed his father years before. In the film, the Matterhorn stands in for the Citadel, and the ride in Disneyland was inspired by the movie. The movie does not have the same name as the book. What was the movie called?

a) Buried in the Sky

b) Third Man on the Mountain

c) The Beckoning Silence

d) The Eiger Sanction

10 Just south of Larrabee State Park, on a wide point in Chuckanut Drive, there is a trail next to a plaque on a mossy boulder that goes up to a steep and loose sandstone climbing crag. The crag was once called Julia’s Outcrop, but has a more commonly used name that was generated from the plaque at the trailhead. What is this crag called?

a) The Boat Launch Wall

b) Captain Vancouver Cliff

c) Lincoln Crags

d) Governor Lister Cliff

11 On a topographic map, the change in elevation between each topographic line is referred to as what?

a) Elevation marker

b) Contour interval

c) Mercator distance

d) Index line

12 It’s well known that Mt. Everest is the tallest mountain in the world above the ocean. But due to the effect of centrifugal forces on the shape of the earth, it is not the tallest mountain from the center of the Earth. That prize goes to what Ecuadorian mountain?

a) Chimborazo

b) Antisana

c) Cayambe

d) Cotopaxi

Answers below

1. C. Dan Simmons wrote “The Abominable,” and if you’re a serious reader, you should drop everything and pick it up right now!

2. A. Schneiter climbed the Nose with her father and a friend over the course of five days.

3. D. Ascent Outdoors was originally named Second Bounce and started out in Seattle’s Fremont District. It was purchased and renamed Second Ascent. Eventually, the shop moved to Ballard, where it was again renamed.

4. B. Iranian climber Reza Alipour holds the speed climbing world record at 5.48 seconds. Many believe that it is nearly impossible to climb a speed wall in less than five seconds.

5. B. Etriers or aiders are used to assist climbers on terrain that cannot be free-climbed easily.

6. D. Sherpas who operate as icefall doctors have one of the more dangerous jobs on Mt. Everest. They have to find a way through the icefall, fix lines and then keep the route open, even when massive ice towers collapse over the route.

7. D. The Legendary Banked Slalom was originally a different sort of race, and as such, it had a different sort of trophy – a golden roll of duct tape.

8. A. Chouinard Equipment became Black Diamond. Yvon Chouinard separately founded Patagonia in 1973. Both businesses were originally housed in the Great Pacific Ironworks building in Ventura, California.

9. B. Gaston Rébuffat, a member of the team that first climbed to the summit of Annapurna and one of history’s most respected mountain guides, rigged, did stunt work for, and directed many of the high alpine scenes in Third Man on the Mountain.

10. D. Governor Ernest Lister was the eighth governor of Washington state. He helped bring the eight-hour workday to the region and there’s a plaque for him next to crag’s trailhead.

11. B. The contour interval demarks the vertical distance between contour lines. An index line (or index contour) appears every fifth line in bold and usually denotes the line’s elevation.

12. A. At 20,564 feet, Chimborazo is the tallest mountain in the world as measured from the center of the Earth. In 1880, Edward Whymper claimed the first ascent of the mountain while traveling in the Andes to study the effects of altitude on the body.

Jason D. Martin is the executive director at the American Alpine Institute, a mountain guide and a widely published outdoor writer. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and two kids.