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Walking with Mr. Muir Walking with Mr. Muir  by dwhike

The following is my humble tribute to a man whom I consider to be one of history’s greatest figures. It is a story of a man whom I can personally identify with. My love for the wilds, the quiet corners of the world, and natural wonders both great and small draw me to Muir as a common bond. No doubt, many of the places I have visited in my short life owe their existence to the conservation movement which had its beginnings, literally, in Muirs hands. No one before or since seems to have grasped the wonders of the natural world with such insight and clarity as John Muir did. Because of all this, I present the following article. I simply invite you to take a few minutes walking with a man who I draw an immeasurable amount of inspiration from…

The How
To's of A Splattski The How To's of A Splattski  by Mlasky

In Idaho we affectionately call it the "Splattski" out of great respect to him, the one we think may have started it. If he didn't actually establish it, well then, he certainly started the trend.

So what is a Splattski? It is a very special type of summit photo where a person in the photo has to be the one taking the shot. Good Splattskis require full single-arm extension, and if the extension is also reflected in the photographer's sunglasses in the photo, even better. If everyone in the photo is framed nicely within the shot and smiles, AND you also have other mountain summits visible in the background of your photo, then you have not just taken a Splattski, you have created a Splattski Masterpiece.

Tale Of An
Old Florida Climber: Chasing The Clock, Dodging The Snow Tale Of An Old Florida Climber: Chasing The Clock, Dodging The Snow  by DTressler

I live in Florida. How in the hell did I let climbing become my obsession? It must be because it is as common a pursuit here as surfing is in Banff. A middle age guy has to prove he can do the improbable, I guess. Quest for uniqueness and all that. Whatever my spurious reason, I've spent the past 13 years finding ways to climb: The local climbing gym all year, road trips to North Georgia, annual trips to Jackson Hole. And the occasional solo trips to Colorado and Switzerland. I don't intend to elicit pity, but people who live in close proximity to decent climbing might have a hard time understanding the anxiety-arousing process suffered by a flatlander when he plans what he expects to be his only major trip of the year. You have to balance available time-off, weather, air fares, availability of partner or guide and a host of other logistical variables. Ususally for me, I have been able to pull it off, putting together a series of trips over the years that have satisfied my craving for high places. It is a year-round process. Six months of planning...one week of climbing...followed by brief satisfaction, as the process of planning the next trip revs up again. Tic toc. In 2009, the formula broke down. A new paradigm was born on the fly.

Mountains that Lost
Attention Mountains that Lost Attention  by SzaniUherkovich

Country highpoints draw the exceptional attention of many mountaineers. Most of these mountains are really worth the attention, while others are focused just because they are country highpoints, and there is nothing interesting about those peaks. It means that the interest for a mountain often doesn’t depend only on the beauty or peculiarity of the mountain itself, but human political decisions can support or decrease the “value” of mountains and peaks, too.

Since WWII the general political climate was moving towards democracy (despite the still existing huge defects) and as a consequence several countries and territories gained independence. The number of countries increased, and the number of country highpoints increased, too. Anybody can easily search for these country highpoints: there are several such lists there.

Disappearing Glaciers of Glacier National Park The Disappearing Glaciers of Glacier National Park  by Bob Sihler

It's now becoming a common question among both first-time and long-time Glacier National Park visitors: "What will the park be called when the glaciers are all gone?"

Ice and
Mixed Climbing in Morocco Ice and Mixed Climbing in Morocco  by Stokesrees

In summer the Atlas mountains see a procession of British and European hikers enter the high valleys, entranced by the mysterious Berber villages and drawn to the barren hills by their formidable 4000m heights. The terrain is brown, arid and bleak. A crude iron frame tarnishes the broad scene of the Atlas' highest summit. Parties of 10 or more parade into its shadow and descend as swiftly back to Marrakech stopping for cerveza at one of the huts or kasbahs.

In winter heavy storms burry the range in a heavy blanket of snow and forbid all but a few hardy mountaineers from seeing their upper reaches. In January I packed up my gear and a few kilos of food and hiked/skied into the valley surrounded by Ras, Timesguida, Biguinoussene and Toubkal. Crossing frequent piles of avalanche debris and gazing upon the mountain faces around me, I was surprised to see numerous ice gullies and steep coulouirs reaching from valley to summit. These were to be the target of my climbing and I have compiled a video clip to show some of the best areas.

Ultimately, the more amazing discovery was that during three weeks in the region, I did not meet or hear of a single climber entering the range for the purpose of winter climbing on these exceptional, long pillars and gullies of ice. Clearly these lines were either unclimbed or seldom climbed, and it took me many days to even recce access routes (by ski) to the upper ice and faces.

Rating the
Road: Standardized 4-Wheel Drive Road Rating System Rating the Road: Standardized 4-Wheel Drive Road Rating System  by surgent

We are familiar with the usual numerical “class” rating of a climb from 1 to 5, with objective descriptions provided to warrant the various values. Yes, it’s true what may seem to be class 5 to one person may be class 3 to another, and the differences between class 3 and 4, or class 4 and 5, can be extremely subtle. Subjectivity is unavoidable, but with enough experience on hikes and climbs within each numerical heading, we tend to gain a pretty strong feel for properly rating a climb.

The same can’t be said for rating the approach road. Let’s face it: driving to the trailhead is a major variable that needs to be considered. The simple fact is, if you can’t get to the start, your hike or climb may not happen at all (or adds a lot of extra un-planned mileage to the hike). Many reports gloss over the approach road conditions, or offer very broad assessments based entirely on subjective criteria. Some simply report any road as “4-wheel drive” even if it is clear the road hasn’t seen a vehicle in 40 years, or similarly, assume if they bashed their beater Jetta up some old mine road, it’s “2-wd passable”. These subjective ratings are not useful and can be very misleading.

A Petition to Outlaw
SummitPorn A Petition to Outlaw SummitPorn  by Deltaoperator17

That’s right, you could be doing anything like mowing the yard, killing ants and bugs or even messing with your gear, but NO. She or he walks in on you and finds you visiting SummitPost.org. Crap, caught again.

In the words of the great Bob Sihler,“At home, you try to visit SP only when your spouse isn’t looking (hence the term SummitPorn), and when he or she catches you, you get that look just like the one the dog does after it pees on the couch and gets scolded for it.”

I have no interest in trying to recreate a great paragraph like that. (Thank you Robert.)

So the battle begins. Why are you on that stupid SummitPorn (note my spouse uses that phrase—she loved Bob’s article) when you could be doing the things I asked you? My reply: Uh, I duuno?

Climb Mt. Rainier Climb Mt. Rainier  by Titanium

After all, the NFL commissioner did it- so it can’t be THAT difficult, right? Hmmm. Okay, well, you’ll get over that soon enough. Let me guess, you’ve been training hard for a year now, right? Climbing stairs (trails, step mills, stair masters) with a heavy pack… walking instead of driving… and you’ve dropped a deposit on the guided trip of your choice (mostly based on the days you were able to take off from work).

First of all, climbing up and down flights of stairs with a heavy pack on is just another way to destroy the remainder of the connective tissue in your knees, hips and ankles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here’s some food for thought: mountains aren’t climbed straight up and down like a staircase. If they were, anybody (including you) could put on a pack and just walk up and down. Think back to the 12 Day Mountaineering Course you participated in recently; roped glacier travel, walking/climbing in crampons, self-arrest, self-belay… what’s that? You didn’t take a mountaineering course? Huh?

of a Pregnant Weekend Warrior Chronicles of a Pregnant Weekend Warrior  by Nice Axe!

Aside from the intense excitement we both feel, we are embarking on what we both suspected would be the crux of pregnancy: At what level will I be able to participate in our weekend warrior adventures, if at all? In fact, our first tiff, since it hardly qualifies as an argument, was about whether or not I should or could handle a climb and ski descent of Wheeler Peak and Old Mike in the Wheeler wilderness near the Taos Ski Valley. We had just done Chicoma Mountain, which was relatively short (~4 miles and 2450' vertical feet to climb), the previous week and it was a successful trip. But with this latest discussion, I felt like I was already being put out to pasture before I had even shown signs of slowing down. Needless to say, I was disheartened and upset.

We agreed to ask our doctor at our first prenatal visit, which fortunately was that day. We both desperately hoped our doctor wouldn't punt and give us the usual conservative, rote answer: "Don't exercise above 5000 feet." To which we'd reply, "But Doc, we live at 7235'." Only to hear, "Well, (thinking hard), then don't exercise above 8000 feet." To our delight, we didn't get the typical reply from our doctor and I instantly liked, and trusted, this doctor. We were told to listen closely to my body and to heed the instruction my body gives. More specifically, the doctor warned against getting dehydrated, to make sure my blood glucose levels didn't get too low or that I didn't suffer from a calorie deficit. We personally added not allowing my O2 saturation levels to get too low to this list. I acquired a pulse-oxymeter for this purpose. We were assured that my body would give us clear warning signs before any harm would befall our unborn jelly bean. In other words, I'd pass out and be stopped in my tracks, for example, to ensure the baby continues to get the oxygen and nutrients it needs. As a caveat, the doctor also told us that we, as weekend warriors, constituted a small percentage of pregnancies and that not a lot of information is known on this topic. "Do your own research" we were told.

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