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Mountain Lion Mountain Lion  by FlatheadNative

The Mountain Lion, also known as the Cougar, Puma, Painter, Panther and Catamount is the most widely distributed cat in the Americas. Mountain lions require a lot of room—only a few cats can survive in a 30-square-mile (78-square-kilometer) range. They are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans.

Thus far I have been privileged to see two Mountain Lions in the Rocky Mountains. It is an eerie feeling to walk in an area where Mountain Lion tracks are plentiful and the scat piles are fresh. It will certainly raise the hair on the back of your neck. The scream of a Mountain Lion is certainly unforgettable once heard it will remain in your memory forever.

So You Want to Sharpen Your
Tools eh! So You Want to Sharpen Your Tools eh!  by JScoles

Ever wonder how a guy or gal does M11+?

Are they just stronger and more talented than me?

Most likely, yes, but they also have the special knowledge, that only an initiate of the 7th circle of the great sun sphere has. I know I will be cursed and spat upon by the likes of Will Gadd and Petra Müller for giving away trade secrets so read on and find out how to sharpen your tools so at least you no longer have that excuse.

First a few basics, I am going to show you how to remake your pick for mixed climbing. If you plan to stay on ice only don’t bother to read further. Just skip to the last paragraph or else you will turn your good ice pick into a mediocre ice pick.

Abalakov in history and in
ice Abalakov in history and in ice  by Liba Kopeckova

The Abalakov thread, or V-thread is ice protection named after Soviet climber Vitaly Abalakov. To know how to make a proper Abalakov (=v-thread) should be a requirement for anyone climbing multi-pitch ice routes. It is easy to create, it doesn’t require leaving expensive gear behind, e.g. rappeling on an ice screw, and it is very safe. I have used abalakov’s in anchors, even as an protection when running out of screws, and mostly it is used for rappel.

V-Threads are ultralight, and many times more convenient for rapid rappels descents than any other anchors, including rock anchors on alpine routes. And you don't need much equipment to build it - all you need is one ice screw (at least 17 cm in length, or longer), and something to thread with (threader, one technique even describes using a small nut).

It is great mountain safety invention. Thank you Mr. Abalakov...

Letter to an Old Friend Letter to an Old Friend  by Bob Sihler

There you were, bold against the snow in the Lamar Valley, ears erect, snout down, ready to pounce, listening for the self-betraying movement of your prey in its dug-out tunnels a few inches below.

You paid not a bit of attention to me. In one sense, I was glad; it's not worth getting the perfect picture of an animal if doing so means disrupting it, and such disruptions can be harmful or even fatal to the animal. But in another sense, I was a little saddened not to be acknowledged; some part of me, the part that thrives on feeling like a part of the pulse of the wilderness, craved your notice and subsequent acceptance-- not friendship but not fear, either-- just acceptance.

Pioneering Ship Rock Pioneering Ship Rock  by Brian C

This is a short piece I worked on about the history of climbing on Ship Rock. It was considered to be the last great challenge in North America and has a very vibrant history.

This is not meant to be exhaustive and should only serve as a brief introduction. I am by no means attempting to encourage climbing of any route on Ship Rock. At this moment the rock has been off-limits to climbers and has been closed for about 40 years. Please take this for what it is and nothing more. I hope you enjoy it.

Backing Off Backing Off  by Isaiah

I've pushed on uphill above treeline when it's pretty cloudy out, I've taken a 20 foot pendulum fall and then went on to finish the route in five more pitches, and I've summitted at 5PM more than I care to admit.

My attempt is to try and explain what goes into backing off a route. I'm also going to try and try and glorify retreating off routes because untold numbers are alive that made the right choice to head down before it was too late.

My most recent failure in the mountains was a failure to solo a grade one ice climb that I soloed the day before. I was just before the crux and I was looking at it and so many things were different. I had two ice axes instead of two ice tools like the day before. My axes weren't exactly sharp. My crampons weren't exactly sharp either.

The Science of Warmth The Science of Warmth  by Duseks

There's a multitude of theories and personal preferences when it comes to staying warm. Possibly the only uniting factor amongst these hypotheses is that they share the same goal - fighting off the cold.

This article will explain the basic principles of what creates and maintains warmth.

Getting to
Know the Night Sky: The Northern Hemisphere Getting to Know the Night Sky: The Northern Hemisphere  by TrekAdam

Getting to know the night sky is fun, easy and can provide you with a wealth of knowledge in regard to navigation at night. This article focuses on the northern hemisphere only. It wont be long until I post on the southern hemisphere. Even memorizing the shapes of the constellations and then locating them in the night sky can be rewarding.

If you're out in the wilderness, take a moment one night to look up at the sky and marvel at its wonder. Stars millions of light years away, gallaxies and nebulas - the night sky provides enough detail to keep the mind wandering for hours.

This article covers most of the northern hemisphere's constellation and goes into detail about particular stars and their magnitudes, colors and degrees above the horizon line at peak. Other miscelaneous information, such as angular separation (distance) from star to star can be found as well. Inside I show a simple method to count degrees in the sky and I am happy to take questions about the method if it is not understood.

Climbing Hitches Climbing Hitches  by Brian C

Among the many knots that are regularly used in climbing, hitches are among the most common. They are very practical in a variety of setups, but they truly shine in rescue scenarios. Friction hitches like the prusik, klemheist, autoblock and bachman can be used to backup rappels, ascend a fixed rope and to haul a struggling or injured partner. Every climber should know these knots, how to tie them and when they might be useful in relation to the specific types of climbing that they do. This article is intended to provide a list of the most common hitches, their "normal" use, and a few pros/cons of each.

Grizzly Bear Grizzly Bear  by FlatheadNative

Anyone who frequents the Rocky Mountains will more than likely see a Grizzly. Perhaps no animal instills more fear in the Rocky Mountains than the Ursus arctos horribilis. The Latin name itself references an animal that is horrible. Many of us have stories to share. Most of them end with a great memory, some of them don’t. It is the stories of the ones who are injured by Grizzlies that creates the image of a horrible blood thirsty killer. In actuality, Grizzly Bears are like any animal and would generally prefer to avoid human contact. Grizzlies, like most other animals, will only attack when they feel threatened or cornered.

I have been fortunate to see many Grizzlies in my numerous trips into Glacier National Park in Northwestern Montana. Allow me to share two of my Grizzly encounter stories...

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