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More Poetic
Than Arbitrary – Destination, Return, and Achievement in Mountaineering [Part
2] More Poetic Than Arbitrary – Destination, Return, and Achievement in Mountaineering [Part 2]  by jacobsmith

Most American mountaineers will be familiar with Ed Viesturs’ catchphrase, “summiting is optional, coming home is mandatory.” There are two general interpretations of this statement, and of the entire concept of return. The first, most simple, and probably closest to what Viesturs meant, is to calculate risk so that one lives to fight another day, meaning that even if one must, at one point, give up a summit attempt, one may return, and continue to climb elsewhere, so that the total amount of climbing accomplished is increased in the long term. The other interpretation is best summarized by Willi Unsoeld,

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Determination - Amputee
Climbers Determination - Amputee Climbers  by PAROFES

When we reach a base camp carrying all our junk weighing dozens of pounds, several camps up the mountain assembling and disassembling our tent night after night, we think, and we are right about that, that our life in altitude mountaineering is difficult. Choosing the altitude mountaineering as a sport is not for everyone. Now imagine all these difficulties for a amputee climber, worse!

Let's think a little bit about these humans that without many options, decided not to give up, to face the terrible problems imposed by the intertwining of their lives. A moment so horrific that almost put a definitive end to the body, and the only solution was to amputate, cut off the dead piece to continue living as a disabled person. Now let's imagine that in the life of a climber, someone who can not stay at home, which is super active by the very nature of his psychological profile, practicing the sport that is more a lifestyle than sport, should in fact be devastating. Well, they do exist, we do not need to imagine.

I selected some interesting cases. Climbers, mountaineers who lost almost everything, they lost pieces of themselves, and a case in which the climber lost both legs even with five years of age by genetic defect, and another case in which really challenges the meaning of the word "possible": A boy who was born without arms below the elbow and no legs below the knee. Unbelievable? Prepare to change your mind, let’s see these super humans...

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More Poetic
Than Arbitrary – Destination, Return, and Achievement in Mountaineering [Part
1] More Poetic Than Arbitrary – Destination, Return, and Achievement in Mountaineering [Part 1]  by jacobsmith

As fans of the webcomic xkcd may have noticed, Randall Munroe made a subtle jab at mountaineers in his recent comic, Click and Drag: perched on a mountainside, one stick figure says to another “‘Because its there’ is more poetic than ‘I’m rich enough that my goals are arbitrary.’” His point seems to be that Mallory (originator of the phrase, “because it’s there”) and men like him do what they do because the fight for survival leaves them with an excess of time and energy, prompting them to invent arbitrary goals for personal entertainment. Personally, I take this as a challenge – to make mountaineering goals arbitrary is to trivialize them and make climbing one of many pastimes of the leisure class, of which I do not, categorically, consider myself a part. Mountaineering is not golf or yacht ownership, it is a serious thing, somewhere between an art and a religion, and therefore it cannot have all the meaninglessness that the designation of “arbitrary” assigns. Yet at times it certainly seems arbitrary, and so a more thorough investigations is needed.

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Why the
Orco Trad Meet? Alternatives to the full equipped climbing-style Why the Orco Trad Meet? Alternatives to the full equipped climbing-style  by AlbertoRampini

Since a few years, except for hard and enterprising high mountain alpinism, really less and less played, in many European countries (Latin Countries mainly, but also Switzerland and Germany) a climbing practice more and more supported by artificial means had been becoming the winning practice. Such a climbing style, born into indoor climbing stadiums, was transferred to natural climbing walls, in medium mountain, but also in the high mountain ranges.

Our modern society shows a prevailing propensity of “securisying” all, even the climb, as well as every other social expression; in such a manner, freedom, fantasy, autonomy and personal responsibility are no longer basic rules. Starting from the family imprinting, then the school standard education and job rules, people are on the way to lose their autonomy to think, to project, to create and so, with a unique word, also to dream.

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What is a
Rock Glacier? What is a Rock Glacier?  by Alex Wood

What is a rock glacier? This term rock glacier is often thrown around loosely with little implication of the origin. This article is about rock glaciers, as you probably guessed. I wrote this as a report for one of my geology classes and have attempted to turn it into a readable article. By no means am I an expert in this topic, but I did spend a lot of time doing research on the topic meaning I should be somewhat knowledgeable in the topic. This article on rock glaciers is targeted towards the Southwestern United States, specifically the San Juan Mountains.

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Muztagh Tower 2012. Muztagh Tower 2012.  by lange

"It was as difficult as never before".

Twelve days of bad weather and six sunny days. Steep (60-65 degrees) snow-ice slope, then ridge sharp as a knife, from the height of 6500 m – the tower itself: steep ice-covered, snow-covered rocks vertical and overhanging sections, with loose snow on vertical rocks.

The summit is a wind-packed snowdrift without any traces of visits by humans.

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Leave No
Trace? - Some Existential Implications of Ice Climbing Leave No Trace? - Some Existential Implications of Ice Climbing  by jacobsmith

The ethic of clean climbing is the lasting contribution of the Yosemite big-wall climbers to the world of mountaineering. In 1972 an article was published in the Chouinard Equipment catalog (a manufacturer of climbing gear later to become Black Diamond Equipment), written by Yvon Chouinard and Tom Frost, that laid out the theory and method of “clean” climbing. Its methodological core was the rejection of pitons in favor of a series of nuts, hexes, and, later, caming devices.

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La Grivola, 1942: a rope cut
by an avalanche La Grivola, 1942: a rope cut by an avalanche  by Roberto36

La Grivola (m 3969) is a pyramidal shape summit situated in the mid Aosta Valley at the end of Gran Paradiso massif.

After the first ascent on 1859 this mountain begun a prestigious aim among the classical climbers of XIX century as a training for most difficult ascents on Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and so on. The great view on the valley and the solitary environment unfortunately wasn’t rewarded from a good quality of rock, except perhaps for the East-Nord-East ridge, known as “Arête des Clochettes”. The attempt performed in 1928 by Valsavarenche’s mountaineering guides to equip the South-West face with fixed ropes in order to enhance a possible alternative standard way was completely unsuccessful because climbers preferred the most comfortable route (nevertheless a bit more dangerous), discovered in 1861 by Abbé Chamonin, priest of Cogne.

However the real esthetical route of Grivola was until 1950, the icy North ridge, named “la scimitarra” (“the scimitar”) for its shape. Nowadays less followed cause the climate changes which has quite completely erased the snow leaving large sections of crumbling rock, this route will be the protagonist of a story a bit legendary, quite similar to some actual alpine and Himalayan enterprises: “a rope cutted by an avalanche”.

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Mont Blanc: Why so many
deaths? Mont Blanc: Why so many deaths?  by PAROFES

Mont Blanc or Monte Bianco as it is known by Italians. Commonly known as the Death Mountain or the White Killer. The Mont Blanc kills so many people every year that it's difficult to keep track of its numbers, it is quite difficult to find a site online that determine "this is the total number of deaths up to date." Not easy to find and I think there isn’t one. This is a quick analysis of the mountain and its frightening numbers that made the Swiss Alpine Club rethink about safety on the roof of the Alps this year.

The accident this year put everything back on the table. The deadly avalanche that killed nine experienced climbers made everyone in Europe recall, and made things more than clear that when it comes to avalanche risk, doesn’t matter the experience of the climber, doesn’t matter how well-made is a protection, it will be dragged down the mountain, the protection, the climber and everything that stands on its way. His lifeless body will be torn apart and it will be buried under several feet of snow. Fact. We just have to remember the great names of world mountaineering that found their demise with a big avalanche. Otherwise, they would continue their brilliant achievements, bold routes and aggressive approaches up in icy alpine slopes, north american, canadian, Hilamaia and the andes.

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The scariest moment of my
life The scariest moment of my life  by PAROFES

The old saying goes: "Nobody knows your body better than yourself." Since January this year I noticed several changes in my body that made me uncomfortable, and because of that I decided to investigate, and then I’ll use another old saying to illustrate this different story: "He who seeks, finds". Here is the result...

It all started in january this year with out of control pimples, when I went off the last job I loved, and was the first which actually I got fired in my entire life. Pure politics. Canker sores worst of all I've ever had in my life (since a kid), some took approximately 25 days to close and hurt so much I had to take painkillers to be able to eat while I was with Lilianne in my honeymoon. That was just the beginning, during the trip to the Andes, commemorative trip for the anniversary of my mother in law, and at the same Lilianne was with me to see the Andes mountains, and to know my beloved city: San Pedro de Atacama. The weather was bad, the mountains were accumulating meters of snow, and with access roads closed, daily rainfall in the city, flooding, then all associated with a heavy flu made me anticipate the flight and come home.

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